A SURGEON whose seven-year-old son tragically died after their car was involved in a crash with another vehicle walked free from court.

A judge today endorsed a decision to the Crown Prosecution Service to offer no evidence against Snehal Patel and said he wished he could offer him and his family more comfort.

It had been alleged that Mr Patel caused the death of Krishan Patel by driving a black Honda CRV dangerously on Wirral a year ago and a trial had been anticipated to begin in December.

The little boy, who was in the back seat of the Honda, was taken to hospital after the car collided with a silver Vauxhall Astra on September 17 last year on Saughall Massey Road, Meols, but died as a result of his injuries.

His father and mother were also seriously injured in the crash and admitted to hospital.

Mr Patel, 39, of Bramhall Close, West Kirby, today pleaded not guilty and Ian Harris, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that the prosecution had reviewed the case and were now offering no evidence against him.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, told Mr Patel: "The events of 17 September last year, whatever was ultimately the cause of those events, will live with you and your family for ever more.

"The conclusion of this obvious tragic case at the behest of the Crown, and this court agrees and endorses such a conclusion, will offer little comfort to you but you leave this court without any culpability whatsoever having been found against you.

"You and your lovely family and your lives are irrevocably altered for ever and your grief will last a life time and your hearts undoubtedly all are broken and the court wishes it could offer more comfort other than discharging you from court and recording a not guilty verdict against you."

Members of Mr Patel's family, including his wife Sonia, also a surgeon, wept in the public gallery while the judge spoke before leaving with Mr Patel.

Mr Harris had told the court that about 5pm on Sunday, September 17 last year Mr Patel was returning with his family from Birmingham with his wife in the front seat and Krishan behind him and his four-year-old brother behind Mrs Patel.

Mr Harris continued: "In part of the road where there is a shallow curve he drove straight on into collision with a Vauxhall Astra which was driving on the opposite lane of the single carriageway road.

"The defendant said he was not speeding but could offer no explanation for the collision.

"He suggested the low sun may have affected his line of vision.

"As a tragic consequence of the collision Krishan received fatal injuries.

"The defendant and his wife both needed surgery for significant injuries. The defendant for internal abdominal injuries, his wife for fractures to her spine.

"They were hospitalised for some considerable time at Arrowe Park Hospital, where both worked as surgeons. Their four-year-old son was uninjured."

Mr Harris said that decisions to prosecute in such circumstances are not taken lightly and the decisions are often finely balanced and kept under continuous review.

He added: "A further review of all of the available material on this case has recently taken place and has been conducted by the Chief Crown Prosecutor personally.

"After a thorough review and discussion of all matters the Chief Crown Prosecutor has decided, in applying the evidential test under the Code for Crown Prosecutors, that that the foundation charge should be one of careless driving, since there is a realistic prospect of a conviction on this charge.

"The public interest aspect of the application of the Code for Crown Prosecutors has also been revisited, in particular the guidance on charging offences arising out of road traffic incidents."

He said that this guidance in 'close friends and family' cases includes that when reviewing such cases while there may be sufficient evidence to prosecute it was recognised 'that in some instances such prosecutions would be inappropriate and it would not be in the public interest to proceed because of the likely life-long consequences of losing a loved one and being responsible for that loss.

"Each individual case must be considered on its own particular set of facts and its own merits when determining the level of culpability and whether or not there is evidence to show an individual presents a continuing danger."

Mr Harris said that Mr Patel had had a previous blameless driving record and does not present a danger.

"In light of the Chief Crown Prosecutor’s conclusion on the evidential test, she has determined that it is not in the overall public interest for this case to proceed and the appropriate course is for the court to enter a not guilty verdict,” he said.

Defence QC Alisdair Williamson said: "It is a matter of great regret this decision was not taken earlier but we are grateful it has been taken.

"By reason of his actions he is not guilty of any offence."