ONE of the country’s top judges has ordered an inquiry into why a man convicted of causing a Sheffield woman’s death through dangerous driving was allowed to challenge his conviction.
Simon Chevens, aged 44, of Wood Close, Chapeltown, who is serving seven years for killing June Bryce-Stephen, aged 56, was granted permission to appeal his conviction at public expense.
His lawyers had argued there was ‘fresh evidence’ to cast doubt on the jury’s verdict, claiming he may not have been driving as fast as claimed.
However, Sir John Thomas, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, said it was “a hopeless appeal and therefore the reasons for which it was brought to this court will be investigated. “It is very important, in this age of austerity and sizeable cutbacks on fees to those who ought to have legal assistance, to find out how this case could have proceeded as it did.”
The court heard that the appeal had cost around £8,000.
Chevens was convicted on the grounds that he and fellow motorist, Adam Cox, aged 25, weaved in and out of traffic and raced each other on the A61 at Wadsley Bridge in March 2010.
Mrs Bryce-Stephen, a teaching assistant, was killed when Cox took a corner at speed and his Honda Civic smashed into her Nissan Micra.
Chevens was in a Ford Focus just two weeks after passing his test, with the two men described as travelling at speeds of up to 70mph in a 40mph zone.
Cox, of Stannington, Sheffield, was jailed for five years after he admitted causing death by dangerous driving, but Chevens denied the offence and was convicted by a jury.