Man pleads not guilty over accident that killed disability advocate Sue Salthouse

Albert McKnight 18 February 2021
Sue Salthouse

Sue Salthouse died after a crash at the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge last year. Photo: Women with Disabilities ACT

A man will fight the accusation he is responsible for the crash that killed renowned disability advocate Sue Salthouse in Canberra last year.

Mitchell Ryan Laidlaw, 33, has been charged over the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge crash that caused the death of 71-year-old Ms Salthouse on 20 July 2020.

The crash occurred at about 2:40 pm when Ms Salthouse was travelling south in her wheelchair-accessible motorcycle. She later died in hospital.

Police have previously alleged Mr Laidlaw had methamphetamine in his system at the time of the crash.

The Ngunnawal man appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday, where his lawyer announced he would plead not guilty to one count of culpable driving of a motor vehicle causing death.

READ ALSO: Sue Salthouse to be remembered with State memorial service

Under the charge, he faces 14 years’ jail if convicted and the lawyer confirmed it was a “purely indictable” matter.

Mr Laidlaw did plead guilty to one count of driving with a prescribed drug in his oral fluid as a repeat offender.

Magistrate Glenn Theakston adjourned the case to 29 April for a pre-hearing mention.

Ms Salthouse, who was named the 2020 ACT Senior Australian of the Year, was known as a fierce and passionate advocate for people with a disability and, in particular, women with a disability.

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