An experienced Sydney highway patrol officer’s recount of the moments before his car slammed into another vehicle is “just not accurate at all”, a jury has been told.
Crown prosecutor Carl Young delivered his closing address in the trial of Senior Constable Harry Thomas Little who has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.
The 42-year-old was doing his best to reconstruct what took place before the collision, Mr Young said on Tuesday in the NSW District Court.
“Unfortunately … he is just demonstrably wrong in a number of parts of his account,” he said.
The Crown has argued Little was driving dangerously in a number of ways including in great excess of the speed limit, without police lights or sirens, failing to keep a proper lookout ahead and all the while weaving in and out of traffic.
Little reached a maximum speed of 135km/h in a 70-zone while in pursuit of a mobile phone-user along Cronulla’s six-lane Kingsway in September 2018.
It’s agreed that Little accelerated quickly but “braked heavily and slowed” to move around an L-plater and then sped up again once back in the right lane.
Little testified that he waited until after passing the L-plater to activate his police lights – to the best of his recollection – so as to avoid causing erratic behaviour.
He suddenly applied the brakes when a 68-year-old Mercedes driver pulled out across the road, but he could not avoid hitting the grandmother at 87.5km/h causing her serious brain damage.
Within his statement and evidence Little made eight errors in his recollection of the event, the Crown submits, including how many cars he passed on the Kingsway, whether he indicated as he was zig-zagging in and out of traffic, and if the roadway was clear ahead of him.
This should convince the jury Little’s recollection of the events leading up to the crash had no reliability, so it could not rely on his conviction that he honestly believed he had turned his police lights on, Mr Young said.
But defence barrister Hament Dhanji SC told the jury in his closing address Little had no reason not to activate his police lights at the point he said he did, and that he honestly believed he had.
While driving in a fully marked police vehicle it was fair for the highway cop not to think someone would pull out in front of him across the roadway and then come to a complete stop straddling two lanes, he said.
“(Little) shows a remarkably clear memory for the key aspects of the event.”
Mr Dhanji agreed there were details within the account that were not completely accurate, but the core impression of what took place was correct.
The trial continues.
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