07 May 2021

Man fined after student killed in road horror loses libel fight with Met

07 May 2021

A man convicted of careless driving after a 21-year-old student was killed while crossing a road outside her university campus has lost a High Court libel fight with the Metropolitan Police.

William Spicer sued the force after claiming that he had been libelled in a police press release about the death of Hina Shamim six years ago in London.

But a judge said he has not proved that the publication of the press release caused serious harm to his reputation.

Mr Justice Julian Knowles has outlined his conclusions in a written ruling after considering evidence at a High Court hearing earlier this year.

Kingston University sports science student Hina Shamim died after being hit by a speeding BMW driven by another man in March 2015, the judge heard.

Shopkeeper Farid Reza was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, and given a jail term of five years and three months, in 2017 following an Old Bailey trial.

Mr Spicer, who was also speeding in a BMW behind Mr Reza, was convicted of the lesser offence of careless driving and fined.

He had been found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Prosecutors had said Mr Spicer, a student when Ms Shamim died, was driving at a “grossly excessive speed” and that he was, in effect, “racing” with Mr Reza, who was 36 when jailed, the judge said.

Mr Spicer, now 30 and a business analyst, complained that he was libelled in a Metropolitan Police press release, published after the trial, which was headed: “Two guilty of killing a woman while racing their cars.”

Police disputed the claim.

Lawyers representing the force argued that the press release had not caused Mr Spicer serious harm and was “substantially true”.

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