Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd should have his manslaughter conviction overturned because police failed to caution him when he was interviewed over his Tinder date's death, his lawyer told the High Court in an appeal hearing today.
Shepherd was jailed for six years for killing 24-year-old Charlotte Brown, who was thrown from his high-powered boat when it capsized on the River Thames during their first date in December 2015.
But his lawyer claimed that police made a basic error when they failed to caution him before he was interviewed, meaning the trial judge should have ruled his interview inadmissible.
Charlotte Brown's sister Katie and mother, Roz Wicken, arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice today to watch speedboat killer Jack Shepherd appeal his manslaughter conviction
Ms Brown's father, Graham Brown, (left) arrives at court in London today followed by the victim's mother and sister
The 31-year-old web developer went on the run ahead of his Old Bailey trial and was convicted in his absence of manslaughter by gross negligence at the Old Bailey in July 2018.
He was more than twice the speed limit when he handed the wheel over to the business consultant, whose family attended today's hearing.
Jurors heard the 14ft Fletcher Arrowflyte GTO was riddled with defects when it hit a log and capsized.
After spending ten months on the run in Georgia, Shepherd was finally extradited and ordered to serve six years with six months consecutive for skipping his bail in April this year.
Stephen Vullo, QC, representing Shepherd, told the High Court: 'The only reason why Mr Shepherd was not cautioned and given his right to a solicitor on the day of the significant witness interview was due to a mistake by the police.
'There was evidence at trial, and it appears at the agreed facts that what had happened is that the investigating team had contacted the Maritime Police to ask whether or not offences had been committed knowing as they did the bare facts at that stage.
'They were told no offence had been committed including driving the boat with excess alcohol.
'It was a surprising part of the trial that being in control of a vessel on the Thames having drank indeed, is not an offence apart from in a very short part of the Thames and it maybe that is where the confusion came from.'
Mr Vullo said his client should have been provided with legal representation.
'The fact is it took place in circumstance absent of caution and absent of a solicitor,' he said.
'The police officers were not going into the interview cold. They had a lot of information.
'He was positively told that he was only to be treated as a witness.'
Charlette's sister Katie and mother Roz Wickens sat in the well of the court while bearded and shaven headed Shepherd appeared on video link from category A HMP Woodhill wearing a green jumper.
Asked by the clerk if he was Jack Shepherd, he replied: 'Yes, I am'.
Aftab Jafferjee, QC, on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service, will address the Court of Appeal judges later today.
Ms Brown (left) died in December 2015, while Shepherd (right, on June 13, 2019)