garbage truck

Garbage Truck Driver Not Guilty of Dangerous Driving in Tragic Dee Why Accident

garbage truckNorthern Beaches accident results in death of a grandmother

On 7 May 2020, Mr Teremoana Tekii, the driver of the garbage truck which brought about the unfortunate death of Ms Hane Mathieson on 8 February 2018 at Dee Why, was cleared by the court of dangerous driving causing death.  Prior to the collision, Ms Mathieson has been walking with her grandson in a pram. 

The grandson was not injured in the collision. 

Trial of driver for dangerous driving causing death

The trial was heard by judge alone before Judge North at Sydney District Court at the Downing Center in Sydney’s CBD. Mr Tekii was represented by O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors and barrister Ms Corrie Goodhand as his Counsel.   The trial commenced on 22 April 2020 and ran for 10 days.

Crown case was he drove too fast and didn’t keep a proper look out

The Crown case was that Mr Tekii was reversing the truck in a manner dangerous to another person’s at the time of the collision.  It was alleged that Ms Mathieson walking on the road up a narrow cul-de-sac with her back to the truck and the was struck by truck as Mr Tekii was reversing.  The Crown alleged that Mr Tekii was not keeping a proper look out.

The Crown argued that the manner of driving was dangerous as he had responsibility for the truck and that he had two loaders, who each worked for the garbage truck company, who were able to assist him by getting out of the vehicle to guide him while it was reversing. 

It was established through GPS records that the truck was reversing at 11.9 km/h at the time of the collision.   The Crown argued that this was an excessive speed and his driving in all the circumstances was dangerous.

Defence was that he took the possible precautions

The Defence strongly challenged the Crown theory and argued that there was no reliable evidence upon which the court could ultimately be satisfied that Mr Tekii was driving in a manner dangerous.  

The Defence case was as follows:

  • Mr Tekii was driving slowly and keeping a lookout in his reverse camera and left and right mirrors while he was navigating a tight bottle nick kink in the road.  
  • He engaged the reverse alarm and beacon light as a warning to cars and pedestrians.
  • He used his air horn before reversing. 
  • He had good vision behind his truck with the reverse camera. 
  • He did not see the deceased.
  • He first saw the pram and stopped immediately.  
  • Both loaders within the cabin were also keeping a look out and guiding the driver.
  • There may have been an obstruction of a broken tree on the pathway adjacent to the street. 
  • The court could not be satiated of the point of impact or how Ms Mathieson came to that point of impact. 
  • Ms Mathieson was legally blind at the time of the accident and this may have played a role in terms of how the accident occurred.

Court decides that prosecution failed to prove dangerous driving

The court ultimately accepted the above and held that despite the tragic outcome, Mr Tekii took all reasonable steps to reverse safely.

His Honour North DCJ found that Crown failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the matters it relied on upon amounted to driving in a manner dangerous and Mr Tekii was according found not guilty.  

After the trial Mr Tekii expressed his condolences for the Mathieson family’s loss. 

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