Tele/ Central Coast Express Advocate: Sergeant Matthew Kelly charged with manslaughter of Jack Roberts applies for driver’s licence back

An officer charged with manslaughter over a fatal crash on the Central Coast between his police car and a motorcyclist has applied for his licence back.

Tuggerah Lakes Police Sergeant Matthew James Kelly, 49, of Kariong, faced Gosford Local Court on Friday where his solicitor made an application to lift the suspension on his driver’s licence.

The officer was charged in October with manslaughter, dangerous driving occasioning death, and negligent driving occasioning death following a fatal collision in April.

The court heard his licence was also suspended by police following the charges on October 14.

According to court documents police allege Sgt Kelly was driving a police vehicle, registration CU58RH, between 2.30am and 3.40am on April 16 at Blue Haven when he caused the death of Jack Roberts.

“In circumstances amounting to manslaughter, to wit, gross criminal negligence,” the charge sheets read.

At the time of impact Sgt Kelly was “driving in a manner dangerous to other persons” the charge sheets added.

A critical incident was launched with police issuing a statement that the officer had seen a motorbike being ridden along the Motorway Link “on the wrong side of the road and without lights” about 2.30am.

“The officer directed the rider to stop, however, he continued onto Blue Haven Way, followed by the officer, where there has been a collision involving the two vehicles,” police said.

The 28-year-old rider died at the scene after he came off his motorcycle and was allegedly run over by the police vehicle.

At his first court appearance his solicitor successfully sought to vary one of his bail conditions that he not occupy the drivers seat of any vehicle.

The magistrate at the time varied the bail because the condition was “superfluous” given his licence had also been suspended and if he drove “he would be committing another offence anyway”.

On Friday Sgt Kelly’s solicitor applied to have the licence suspension lifted.

“It’s a matter that does have exceptional circumstances,” he told the court.

“My client has pleaded not guilty, my client may not get a trial until next year or well into next year.”

Sgt Kelly’s solicitor said he was driving a police vehicle at the time but had since been suspended from duty since July so there was “no risk of the (alleged) offending happening again.”

He told the court his client needed to drive to various psychological appointments, had a good driving record and “it goes without saying he’s a person of good character”.

Magistrate Peter Barnett said it was “not unreasonable to expect (the trial) may drift well into 2022”.

He said the main question was whether the combination of the delay in the matter being finalised in the District Court, combined with Sgt Kelly’s need for a licence to attend psychological appointments and his otherwise good traffic record “cast it into exceptional”.

Magistrate Barnett said it appeared so and granted the application.

“I lift the suspension forthwith,” he said.

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