The following report appeared in the Stratford Observer, but has since been taken down. There's not necessarily anything suspicious in that, but it seems slightly odd that there has been so little reporting of the developments in the case...
Gyrocopter pilot murder charge could be dismissed
11 June 2009
A MURDER charge facing a pilot accused of killing a hunt supporter with the tail propeller of his gyrocopter could be thrown out.
Lawyers for Bryan Griffiths, accused of killing hunt supporter Trevor Morse at Long Marston airfield in March, are to apply for the murder charge against him to be dismissed.
The charge follows an incident when 48-year-old Mr Morse, a hunt supporter from Alderminster, was struck by the rear propeller of the gyrocopter 54-year-old Griffiths, of Wiltshire Close, Bedworth, was piloting.
It had landed to refuel at the airfield after being used to monitor a hunt in the area.
Mr Morse, a self-employed gardener and a volunteer marshal for the Warwickshire Hunt, died ‘virtually immediately’ from severe head injuries after being struck by the tail propeller.
Griffiths’ case was listed at Warwick Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing – but at the request of his barrister the murder charge was not put to him.
Peter Lownds, defending, explained that there was to be 'an application to dismiss' the murder charge so the case was adjourned and Griffiths was granted conditional bail.
Mr Lownds asked Judge Richard Griffith-Jones to set a timetable for both the defence and prosecution to serve ‘skeleton arguments’ prior to a hearing at which the application to dismiss the charge will be made.
The Judge pointed out the murder case must be heard by a High Court judge, and it had been released to him only for the plea and case management hearing.
He ordered the defence should serve its argument by June 26, with the prosecution response to it by July 24, with a hearing on the application to dismiss the charges some time in October.
Judge Griffith-Jones said: "The issue will be whether there is a prima facie case of murder. The issue of manslaughter will be another matter altogether."
Mr Lownds confirmed there would still be a trial even if the defence application to dismiss the murder charge is successful.
The Judge said the court staff would be asked to find a slot for the trial to take place, possibly at Birmingham Crown Court in January next year.