9 November 2022

Woman guilty of not stopping to help after hitting man with car at Mount Ainslie lookout

| Albert McKnight
View from Mount Ainslie

A woman was found guilty of one charge but acquitted over another in relation to the incident at the Mount Ainslie lookout. Photo: File.

A driver has been found guilty of not stopping to help a pedestrian after hitting him with her car at the Mount Ainslie lookout but was cleared over a separate charge of negligent driving.

She pleaded not guilty in an ACT Magistrate Court hearing that began on Monday (8 November), which heard her 26-year-old victim had been found in the middle of the road on 3 June 2021 with numerous injuries, including to his brain.

It was alleged the woman, who is unable to be named because Magistrate James Stewart made an order protecting her identity, had driven to the lookout at around 11 pm where she started honking her horn with her passenger.

The victim was intoxicated and as his girlfriend was annoyed at the noise, he went and bashed on the woman’s window. She drove off, hitting him with her car as she left.

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When Magistrate Stewart found her guilty of one charge on Tuesday (8 November), he said, “at the bare minimum”, she would have known she had run over the victim’s feet so he would have been injured, but she failed to stop and give assistance.

“It was in her power to give assistance by ringing Triple Zero,” he said.

“It was in her power to ensure he wasn’t hit by other traffic at the time, which was a real risk.”

He pointed to texts exchanged between the woman and her passenger the day after the incident in which the passenger asked what happened to the person who bashed on their window.

The woman replied, “it doesn’t matter”. The passenger said she needed to know if he was okay, but the woman replied, “he was okay”.

He said the charge of driver not stopping to give assistance was proven beyond reasonable doubt and adjourned to December for sentencing or a defence application.

However, Magistrate Stewart found a charge of negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm hadn’t been proved and dismissed it.

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He said it had been pitch black that night, with thick fog and limited visibility.

The magistrate said the victim could not remember what happened, which was unsurprising given his injuries, and there was no truthful passenger in the woman’s car.

He also said there was no damage to her car and no forensic evidence on it or the victim which could help him decide “what on earth occurred” to cause such “grievous” injuries.

He was satisfied the woman’s car caused the injuries, but could not piece together what had happened beyond reasonable doubt.

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