Trimley St Mary: Legal bill spirals as drink-drive fugitive disappears – yet again
TRIMLEY ST MARY: His scant regard for justice has already embarrassingly exposed a legal loophole, incurred the wrath of an MP and forced an apology from the county’s top police chief.
But today, a year down the line, the cat-and-mouse pursuit of fugitive Arminas Karpovicius appears to be far from over in a case which has already cost tens of thousands of pounds.
Since being arrested in March last year on suspicion of drink-driving and aggravated vehicle-taking, the 25-year-old’s case has been riddled with technical hitches, red-tape blunders, court no-shows and a false address.
And last week the Lithuanian national once again shunned the courts and went on the run for the THIRD time.
Despite having previously dodged police bail, a court summons and an arrest warrant, he was released on bail at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ court last month but then failed to reappear on Wednesday.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it requested conditional bail at the February 24 hearing because he has no previous convictions, which it says is the main criteria for consideration.
But questions are now being asked as to why Karpovicius was not remanded in custody.
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The owner of one of the vehicles reportedly damaged by Karpovicius during the alleged incident in Trimley last year said: “I think this must be fiction. I find it difficult to understand why he got bail if he had this history of absconding.
“I’ve been on standby to be called as a witness for a year now and I’ve had to tell police where I will be over the next six months.
“I have to be careful about planning holidays. It is just dragging the whole thing out. It must be costing a lot of money.”
Police reportedly found Karpovicius slumped behind the wheel of a Ford Galaxy on March 8 last year after allegedly crashing into cars in the High Road and Faulkeners Way area of Trimley St Martin.
But due to a problem at the police station, he was unable to be breath-tested, so a blood sample was taken instead.
He was released on bail pending the results, which later showed he was nearly four times the legal drink-drive limit, but by then Karpovicius had done a runner.
He was eventually found in a garage in Ilford in September, but a drink-drive charge could no longer be brought because the law states it must be put to him within six months.
The mix-up came to the attention of Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, who demanded an explanation from Suffolk’s Chief Constable Simon Ash.
Chf Con Ash later apologised, saying: “It is accepted by the constabulary that an error was made in allowing the six-month time period to elapse. We have reviewed our procedures.”
Meanwhile, the CPS are continuing to pursue a charge of aggravated vehicle-taking, but a court summons was sent to a false address given by Karpovicius which is understood to be a vacant industrial unit in London.
There have also been a number of adjourned court hearings since October 15.
A spokeswoman for the CPS said: “The prosecution requested conditional bail because it was felt that was reasonable in the circumstances given that defendant has no previous convictions.
“Ultimately it is the magistrates’ decision. They still have the power to remand if they see fit. It is a balance on a case by case basis.”
A spokesman for the Judicial Communication Office said: “Magistrates will consider any representation before deciding whether to grant bail.”
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