THE TRIAL of a man accused of causing a head-on crash which left a young Kenilworth woman with life-threatening injuries cannot take place until early next year.
Mark Barnes had been due to stand trial at Warwick Crown Court after pleading not guilty to causing serious injury to Hollie Smith by driving his Audi A6 estate dangerously.
The charge follows a head-on crash on the B4100 Banbury Road at Temple Herdewyke in November 2015 as Hollie was driving home from work as an Yves Saint Laurent beauty account manager.
The court has heard that 50 year-old Mr Barnes, of Hill Close, Southam, has put forward a defence that he suffered some kind of seizure, which was rejected by the prosecution.
But on what was to have been the first day of the trial, and with Hollie at court, his barrister Justin Jarmola asked for it to be adjourned.
He explained there was a psychiatric report on Mr Barnes in relation to his defence of having suffered a seizure – but in law there had to be two reports to establish his condition as a defence to the charge.
Peter Cooper, prosecuting, said Hollie, now 25, suffered ‘devastating injuries’ in the crash, and was ‘anxious to bring this to an end and to obtain some closure.’
But he pointed out once the defence reports have been prepared, the prosecution ‘may need to consider obtaining reports of our own.’
Agreeing to adjourn the trial, Judge Berlin said that, with a new time estimate of eight days, it could not be fixed until early next year.
He ordered the defence reports to be served by September 18, with a prosecution response by October 30, prior to a trial at Coventry Crown Court on January 29 – and Mr Barnes was granted bail.
Hollie, who will not have to give evidence, and sat in the public gallery with her mother and brother, suffered life-threatening injuries and no fewer than 27 broken bones, including crushed legs, a broken back and neck, and a fractured skull.
She was trapped in her car for 80 minutes following the collision on the B4100 between Burton Dassett and Gaydon, before fire crews cut her free and she was rushed to hospital.
Some of her shattered bones had pushed through the skin, and her blood loss was said to have left her perilously close to death before she was given five pints of blood in hospital.
Hollie, from Kenilworth, spent months in hospital, the first six weeks of it flat on her back and able to move only her arms.
Once she was able to move, she began a painful battle to walk again – and after progressing from a wheelchair to managing a few steps with a walking frame, she now uses just a single crutch.