THE region's top prosecutor has apologised to the family of a motorcyclist killed in a crash after admitting the criminal case against a fellow a biker charged with his death was incorrectly dropped.

Frazer Golden, of Sunderland, was fatally injured when his Honda motorbike was involved in a collision with a Yamaha bike, on the A689 near St John's Chapel in Weardale, in April 2017.

Following a police investigation the CPS advised no charge should be brought against the Yamaha driver.

The 30-year-old's family appealed that decision which was then referred to the appeals and review unit under the Victims’ Right to Review policy.

It was deemed that there was a realistic prospect of conviction and the case was referred back to the North East office for the Yamaha rider to be charged with causing death by careless driving.

The case should have gone straight to court but the North East office disagreed with the decision and when it did reach Durham Crown Court in March 2019 the regional prosecutors offered no evidence, resulting in the Yamaha rider being formally acquitted of causing death by careless driving.

As a result of the acquittal, the rider cannot be charged again in connection with the collision.

Mr Golden's family instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to review the case and initiate a claim for judicial review of the CPS for acting unlawfully.

Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS North East, has since offered “sincere apologies” to the family, including parents Dan and Linda and sisters Louise and Faye.

A CPS spokesperson said: “We have apologised to the family for the way this case was managed and we accept this caused them distress, anger and upset, given the tragic circumstances.

“We are currently reviewing our Victims’ Right to Review policy and will ensure there is more clarity around actions that can be taken by a CPS Area once a decision has been made by the appeals and review unit to overturn a charging decision.”

In a further letter Susan Hemming, director of legal services with the CPS, admitted there was “no good reason” by the regional office to “dis-apply” policy and the case “should have been prosecuted and adjudicated upon by the court.”

Mr Golden's father, Dan, 68, said: “We still cannot believe that Frazer is no longer with us, it still doesn’t seem real.

“It is hard not to feel angry at what has happened and difficult not to feel that the CPS gave our family false hope.

“We still can’t understand why the regional office decided to overrule national policy, denying the courts the opportunity thoroughly examine the evidence and our family the opportunity to fully understand the reasons that led to Frazer’s death. We know nothing is going to bring him back but we owed Frazer that much.

“All we can hope for now is that the same mistakes do not happen again.”

Expert public lawyer Helen Smith, representing the Nissan worker's family, said: “More than two years on from the collision Frazer’s family are still struggling to come to terms with his unexpected death.

"All they wanted was for the courts to examine the circumstances surrounding how he died, providing answers to their many questions.

“The decision taken by the regional office of the CPS means they will not have the opportunity to have their questions answered and this has just added to the heartbreak and pain they continue to experience.

"They feel a strong sense of frustration which has been compounded by the fact that the regional office of the CPS had no authority to act in the way that it did.

"While nothing can make up for what has happened we are pleased that the CPS had admitted its errors and apologised to the family.It is now vital that lessons are learned from this case and, where appropriate, staff receive the necessary training to prevent a repeat of such an incident.We will continue to support Frazer’s family at this extremely distressing time to help them come to terms with what has happened the best they can.”