Verdict for driver who claimed he didn’t know he hit woman
A MURWILLUMBAH man has been found guilty of failing to stop and assist a 59-year-old woman he struck with his car in 2018.
Danny John Maloney, 29, was found guilty by a jury in the Lismore District Court for failing to stop and assist after his vehicle caused grievous bodily harm.
Police claimed Maloney was driving at speed through the overpass on Minjunbal Drive, Tweed Heads South near Sexton Hill Drive about 8pm on July 8, 2018.
He then mounted a kerb under the overpass after failing to navigate a right hand turn in the road and struck Carmelina Smith, 59, before immediately fleeing the scen.
Mrs Smith suffered head and leg injuries as a result of the incident.
Maloney had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous occasioning grievous bodily harm.
However, he challenged the failing to stop and assist charge on the basis that he didn't know he struck Mrs Smith at the time and therefore had no reason to believe he needed to come to her aid.
The Crown Prosecutor during his closing submissions said given all the evidence Maloney did hit Mrs Smith with his vehicle, and hit her "hard enough" to cause grievous bodily harm, he ought to have known he had struck her at the time.
"He must have seen or felt or heard the impact itself," he said.
"There's a clear view of the approach to the overpass, a clear view of the footpath… and thee overpass is well lit."
"(There's) … all the sort of impacts we notice when we're driving let alone hitting an adult woman as hard as he did at high speed."
Throughout the trial Maloney had maintained he didn't know he hit anyone that night until he heard about the alleged hit and run in a radio news broadcast the next day.
But his account to police that he had mounted the footpath after another vehicle tried to cut him off, was simply a "fanciful explanation" according to the Crown Prosecutor.
"The difficulty is that when he was pressed on his story, he didn't really come up with the details you would expect of his account," the Crown Prosecutor said.
"Even if you accept his account of the lead up to the collision… at least by the time he hit Mrs Smith he must have known he hit her."
Maloney will be sentenced in the Lismore District Court on November 20.
He has also been charged with negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, which will be dealt with at the next court appearance.