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Negligent driving matter dismissed.

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Negligent driving matter dismissed

Our Solicitor, Nicholas Hardy-Clements, represented a 28-year-old man at Blacktown Local Court in relation to the following three offences:

  1. Negligent Driving (no death or grievous bodily harm), pursuant to Section 117(1)(c) of the Road Transport Act 2013;
  2. Driving in bus lane, pursuant to Section 154(1) of the Road Rules 2014; and
  3. Not stopping at stop line at red light, pursuant to Section 56(1)(a) of the Road Rules 2014.

In brief, our client lost control of a Porsche, drove into a bus lane when approaching an intersection, failed to stop at the stop line for a red traffic control light and had proceeded through the intersection at very high-speed causing a serious motor vehicle collision. As a result, an 8-year-old child suffered from injuries including a bruised bowel and a ligament damage to the vertebrae in the neck.

At the time of the accident, our client stated that the collision occurred because he suffered a medical episode, namely an epileptic seizure. Our client informed police that he was prone to ‘blacking out’ due to an accident he was involved in approximately 2 years ago where he sustained serious head injuries. He also suffered from epilepsy as a child.

Upon conferencing our client and obtaining instructions, it was of serious concern that our client our had in fact suffered from epilepticus and/or a non-convulsive epileptic event. Indeed, there was a medical history of epilepsy as a child, and an earlier incident which resulted in a serious head injury that required maxillofacial surgery. All of which was supported by independent evidence from several of Sydney’s hospital specialists.

We advised our client he may not have been acting voluntarily at the time of the accident and therefore could plead not guilty of the offence. In essence, our client relied on the defence of sane automatism.

Moreover, our client was also suffering from a mental health impairment and a cognitive impairment. He was therefore also eligible for an application pursuant to Section 12 and 14 of Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020 No 12 (MHCIFP)

Subsequently, our client instructed us to plead not guilty to all offences and also proceed with an application pursuant to section 14 of the MHCIFP Act.

Nicholas Hardy-Clements and our team of criminal solicitors at Jameson Law sought to prepare the necessary material and evidence to ensure our client’s section 14 application and defence would be successful. This involved two reports from a nuero-psychologist, a report from a neurologist and 100’s of pages of medical material obtained from several of Sydney’s public hospitals.

In additional to a large amount of medical material in support of our client’s section 14 application, detailed written submissions were prepared. Unfortunately, after two attempts, the court did not grant our client’s section 14 application. This was largely due to the injury to the young child and seriousness circumstances of the offences. The matter then proceeded to a defended hearing.

At defended hearing, Mr Hardy-Clements tendered a detailed clinical psychologist report(s) and called evidence from an expert in relation to our client’s diagnosis and how epileptic events effect a person’s brain and ability to act voluntarily. The evidence was largely in support of our client acting involuntarily at the time of the accident.

Our client also gave extremely compelling evidence detailing his medical history, experience with epilepsy and near-death injuries caused because of possible epileptic events 2 years prior. As the evidence was relatively extensive, after a full day of hearing our client’s matter was adjourned part-heard for a second day of hearing.

Unsurprisingly, the court re-listed the matter on short notice. After hearing the oral evidence from the expert and our client’s evidence, albeit initially unsuccessful, the magistrate granted our client’s section 14 application. Each of the offences were dismissed pursuant to section 14 of the MHCIFP on the condition our client was discharged into the care of a responsible person to continue engaging in a extensive 12-month treatment plan.

Mr Hardy-Clements is an experienced and skilled advocate who specializes in criminal law. He is capable of running complex matters and regularly instructs counsel in all jurisdictions and appeals.

This case illustrates the importance of experience and teamwork offered at Jameson Law. Mr Nicholas Hardy-Clements is thorough, he cares for his client’s individual circumstances. Moreover, the team worked hard to ensure the case was prepared and presented in a way that ensured the appropriate outcome was reached for our client.

This was a great result for both our client and our firm.


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