Witnesses grilled on rider's death

DEFENCE barrister Peter Davis gave the two main witnesses for the case against Joshua Mackay a grilling when he cross-examined them in Gympie Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

He was challenging statements made to police that accused Mackay, 18, of causing the collision at the intersection of Eel Creek and Lawson roads that killed 37-year-old father Craig Hasted on May 7 last year.

Investigating officer Sergeant Vic Tipman was the first witness to take the stand. He said the ute driven by Mackay had most likely failed to keep left of double white lines as it entered Eel Creek Road.

He said he had formed that view because of the position of the ute at the scene, skid marks on the road and gouges on the bitumen from the motorcycle. He added that he supported his opinion by watching vehicles travel through the intersection and by driving the intersection many times to get it right in his mind.

“There’s a possibility cutting the corner could have caused the accident ... had he pulled up to the line and stopped (he may not have) misjudged the distance of the bike,” he said and told the court he didn’t think the collision was caused by high speed.

“It doesn’t take much speed to send a motorcyclist flying. When they came to collision (Mr Hasted’s) head hit the bonnet. If they were going any faster he would have been thrown clear over.”

Sgt Tipman was asked if he considered himself an expert in traffic crash investigations. He answered no but added that he had been a police officer for about 40 years.

“You’re assuming an awful lot,” Barrister Davis said and went on to ask Sgt Tipman about another witness statement, made 10 days after the incident.

The witness, Geoffrey Davis, claimed the “young fellow” wasn’t driving the car at the time. However, it was revealed Sgt Tipman had helped him settle on a statement that said the “bigger man” was driving.

For that reason, Sgt Tipman was asked to leave when Geoffrey Davis was being cross-examined, in case both were called to be cross-examined if the matter went to trial.

Mr Davis (the witness) said he had been following Mr Hasted’s motorcycle all the way from Gympie and saw the accident happen in front of him.

He claimed he was about 100 metres away when he saw a vehicle travelling from Lawson Road and enter onto Eel Creek Road without stopping. Mr Davis appeared unsure about what he saw when he was questioned about the dip in the road and asked whether it was possible to see the collision when his vision would have been obstructed by the ridge and the bend in the road.

He claimed the father had been driving the ute but admitted he only “assumed” the “bigger man” was the older one. Mr Davis said he observed the accident from his car because he was deaf and drove off when two other vehicles stopped to help. After reading the report about it in The Gympie Times, he felt compelled to tell police they must have swapped drivers.

Barrister Davis showed Mr Davis a series of photographs taken 100 metres from the intersection that showed he would have lost vision of the intersection for a short while.

“I saw it happen. I was right there,” Mr Davis said and the barrister then asked him why he had been changing his statement throughout the cross-examination.

“Are you really remembering what you saw or are you reconstructing it in your memory? The point is, you don’t know.”

It was established that the motorcycle’s low-beam light bulb might have been blown before the crash and the high beam was definitely not on at the moment of impact.

The matter was adjourned to July 20 when six remaining witnesses will give evidence.

Gympie Times

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