CHRISTOPHER Robert Palmer was repeatedly told to “slow down” and warned about “two bad corners coming up” in the moments before he lost control of his car and killed his mate, Rory Sayce, on the “insidious” Maitland Vale Road S-bend, Newcastle District Court has heard.
Mr Palmer’s Range Rover fish-tailed left and right, rolled onto its side and collided with a large tree about 11.15pm on October 7, 2015, killing Mr Sayce, 26, and injuring three backseat passengers. Mr Palmer has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death and dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, with the central issue at his trial whether he was driving dangerously in the moments before the crash.
During his opening address on Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell told the jury Mr Palmer failed to negotiate a sharp right-hand corner and was “simply going too fast”.
“To the point where he was told by the other people in the car to slow down,” Mr Campbell said.
Mr Campbell said one passenger claimed he saw the speedometer reach 100km/h as they approached the dangerous S-bend, which has a speed limit of 35km/h.
Defence barrister Peter Harper said Mr Palmer accepts responsibility for losing control of the car, the death of his friend and the injuries to the other passengers, but contends he was not driving dangerously at the time.
Mr Harper said Mr Palmer was guilty of negligent driving occasioning death and the central issue for the jury to determine was where his conduct fell on the “continuum of bad driving” and whether it crossed the line into dangerous driving.
“The evidence will disclose that clearly there was a degree of fault on his part,” Mr Harper told the jury.
“He doesn’t deny that. “What he denies is that fault amounted to dangerous driving.”
Mr Harper said the defence disputed several elements of the prosecution evidence, including that Mr Palmer drove dangerously while in Newcastle earlier on the night of the crash, that he was familiar with the dangerous stretch of road where the crash occurred, that he reached the speeds his passengers claimed and, importantly, that he was ever told to slow down.
“This is not “slow down”,” Mr Harper told the jury.
“It’s “oh, you pussy” from three boys in the backseat.”
This is not “slow down". It’s “oh, you pussy” from three boys in the backseat.- Barrister Peter Harper.
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