ABC: NSW police officer Harry Little gives evidence over Cronulla crash that left grandmother with brain damage

A Sydney police officer on trial for dangerous driving says he doesn’t remember telling a colleague he “didn’t have a chance” to turn his police lights on before a crash that nearly killed a grandmother.

Key points:

  • The police car’s lights and sirens were not on when the crash occurred
  • Senior Constable Harry Little told the court he remembers pressing the button to activate lights
  • The court previously heard Gai Vieira is unlikely to recover from her injuries

Senior Constable Harry Little, 42, reached speeds of up to 135kph as he was pursuing a driver using their phone at Cronulla, in the city’s south, in September 2018.

His police vehicle, which did not have its flashing lights or sirens activated, slammed into a Mercedes-Benz driven by Gai Vieira, as she pulled out from a side street.

The court last week heard that Mrs Vieira is unlikely to recover from the severe brain injury she suffered in the crash.

A NSW District Court trial has previously heard from a colleague, Sergeant Grant Howell, who claimed that after the crash Senior Constable Little said he “didn’t have a chance to put my lights on”.

But giving evidence today, Senior Constable Little told a jury his memory of the period after the impact was “hazy” and he couldn’t recall the conversation.

“Do you recall saying anything to Sergeant Howell?” his barrister Hament Dhanji SC asked.

“I just remember talking about the other driver,” Senior Constable Little replied.

Two weeks after the crash, Senior Constable Little was asked to provide a written account of the incident, the trial has heard.

In it, he claimed he believed he turned his lights on while overtaking a learner driver just before the smash.

Under cross examination, he said his memory of pressing a button to activate the lights was clear.

“At the time I believed that they were on, but I accept they weren’t,” he said.

Senior Constable Little told the court he didn’t turn the lights on as soon as he started accelerating during the pursuit because he didn’t want to “spook” other drivers around him.

“I know that when I put lights or sirens on people change their driving behaviours,” he said.

He maintained his memory up until the collision was clear, but said he suffered whiplash and other injuries and his memory after being removed from the wreck was incomplete.

He also told the court there were three occasions before the crash when he had tried to use the lights and siren but the car’s buttons did not work properly.

Two of those involved trying to pull over motorists by flashing his lights, but he only realised they weren’t on when the drivers didn’t stop.

The trial, before Judge Sarah Huggett, continues.

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