Jack Shepherd faces wait for decision in appeal against manslaughter conviction
A man found guilty of killing his date in a speedboat accident will have to wait to find out if his manslaughter conviction will be overturned by the Court of Appeal.
Jack Shepherd was jailed for six years over the death of 24-year-old Charlotte Brown, who was thrown from his boat when it capsized on the River Thames during their first date in December 2015.
The 31-year-old web developer challenged his conviction for manslaughter by gross negligence at the court in London on Thursday.
His lawyers argued his conviction is unsafe because some of the evidence at his trial came from an interview during which he was not cautioned or offered a solicitor because of a “mistake” by police.
Shepherd, wearing a green jumper and blue jeans, appeared in court over a video link from HMP Woodhill, where he is serving his sentence, and confirmed his name to court staff at the start of the case.
Ms Brown’s family, who sat in the public gallery throughout the hearing, did not speak to reporters as they entered the Royal Courts of Justice.
Sir Brian Leveson, sitting with two other senior judges, said the court will give its ruling on the appeal within a week.
The court heard it is the last case he will hear in the criminal division of the Court of Appeal before his retirement next week.
He said: “For the family of this young lady, it must have been a distressing procedure listening to what is a comparatively clinical analysis of law.
“We are very conscious of the loss that they have suffered and nothing we have said is intended to detract from the sympathy we feel.
“I am sure they will appreciate that, sitting in the Court of Appeal hearing arguments of law, we must focus on those arguments and deal with them as we believe the law requires us to do.
“The fact that we have not dwelt upon the terrible tragedy that occurred on that day should not be taken as meaning we are not extremely conscious of it, and we extend our sympathy.”
Shepherd, originally from Exeter, went on the run ahead of his Old Bailey trial and was convicted in his absence in July 2018.
He was later extradited to the UK from Georgia after handing himself in to police in the capital Tbilisi in January.
Jurors at Shepherd’s trial heard that he and Ms Brown, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, had been drinking champagne and went on a late-night jaunt in his boat past the Houses of Parliament.
Shepherd handed the controls to Ms Brown just before it overturned, tipping both of them into the cold water, the court was told.
He was plucked from the Thames alive but Ms Brown was found unconscious and unresponsive.
Following his return from Georgia, Shepherd appeared at the Old Bailey in April and was sentenced to an additional six months for breaching bail.
He was jailed for a further four years at Exeter Crown Court last week after he admitted wounding with intent in relation to a drink-fuelled attack on a barman.
The court heard he struck former soldier David Beech with a vodka bottle on March 16 2018 after being asked to leave The White Hart Hotel in Newton Abbot, Devon.