US servicewoman accused of killing motorcyclist by careless driving can be tried in UK, judge rules 

US air force servicewoman accused of killing motorcyclist by careless driving as she travelled home from military base can be tried in the UK, judge rules

  • Matthew Day, 33, died after a Honda Accord collided with his Yamaha motorbike
  • Airman First Class Mikayla Hayes, 24, denies causing death by careless driving
  • She argues she was on duty at the time and should be tried by US military court
  • But judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court has ruled Hayes will be tried in  UK

A US Air Force servicewoman accused of killing a motorcyclist by careless driving as she drove home from her RAF base will be tried in the UK, a judge has ruled.

Matthew Day, 33, was riding his Yamaha motorcycle when he was struck by a red Honda Accord on the A10 in Southery, near Downham Market, Norfolk.

The father-of-one later died of his injuries following the crash on August 26.

Mikayla Hayes, a 24-year-old Airman First Class, denies causing his death death by careless driving.

Lawyers for the servicewoman, who wore a black two-piece suit, argued that she should face a US military court as she was still on duty when the crash took place.

Barrister Andrew Cogan argued this was the case because Hayes was in uniform when making a 30-minute journey from her RAF Lakenheath base in Suffolk to her home accommodation, which is paid for by her employer, following a PT class.

The US Air Force (USAF) had also served the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) with a certificate under the 1952 Visiting Forces Act, which asserts jurisdiction.

But deputy senior district judge Tan Ikram ruled at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today that Hayes will be tried at a UK court.

Mikayla Hayes, a 24-year-old Airman First Class, pictured outside Westminster Magistrates Court earlier this month

Mikayla Hayes, a 24-year-old Airman First Class, pictured outside Westminster Magistrates Court earlier this month

Matthew Day, 33, was riding his Yamaha motorcycle when he was struck by a a red Honda Accord on the A10 in Southery, near Downham Market, Norfol

Matthew Day, 33, was riding his Yamaha motorcycle when he was struck by a a red Honda Accord on the A10 in Southery, near Downham Market, Norfol

He instead agreed with the arguments of prosecutor Rachel Scott, who said that Hayes was no longer on duty while driving home.

The judge said: ‘The contents of the US Air Force certificate is rebutted. This court must now move on to the next stage of proceedings.’

Outlining his decision, he added: ‘There is no evidence the fuel for her journey was paid for by the US Air Force. She paid for the fuel herself.

‘While I note that her accommodation was paid for by the US Air Force, I do not find that a factor as to whether she was on duty. She was simply travelling home after a day at work.

‘The prosecution has persuaded me that this falls within the bounds of a normal case.

‘When you consider all the circumstances, the particular journey and the collision after did not arise out of or in the course of duty.’

Hayes had a US licence, a UK licence from April 2022 and a third US Government-related vehicle licence for her work.

She had been in the UK for three months and was on her first posting as a serving member of the US air force when the incident took place. 

Ms Scott earlier told the court that the USAF were asking the court to make ‘a very significant decision for a sovereign to surrender jurisdiction to a foreign military power’ which would be an ‘extraordinary thing’ to do.

Shesaid: ‘Whether the offence arose out of Ms Hayes acting as a member of USAF, the CPS say no, based on the simple facts that this defendant had finished work and was driving where she wanted, by choice, in her free time – not acting out of or in the course of her duty.

Flowers pictured at the side of the A10 at Southery in Norfolk following the fatal collision in August

Flowers pictured at the side of the A10 at Southery in Norfolk following the fatal collision in August

‘The collision occurred when the defendant finished work, when she finished work it was not something that arose out of or in the course of her duty.’

Ms Scott also told the court that the case should be transferred back to the local area, so Mr Day’s family can attend the trial.

Hayes elected to be tried by a jury at Crown Court and entered a not guilty plea following the ruling.

She will next appear at Norwich Crown Court on December 21.

Source

Related posts