Truck driver charged over Dubbo fatal crash on Newell Highway refused bail

Emergency service crews at the scene of the fatal crash on January 16 near Dubbo. Photo: BRADLEY GUEST
Emergency service crews at the scene of the fatal crash on January 16 near Dubbo. Photo: BRADLEY GUEST

A truck driver charged after a fatal seven-vehicle crash near Dubbo has been refused bail.

Robert Crockford, 50, sat in a wheelchair as he faced Dubbo Local Court via video link on Tuesday morning.

He is charged with two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death, three counts of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and related charges.

Hannah Ferguson, 19, of Gulargambone and boyfriend, Reagen Skinner died in the crash on January 16.

Mr Crockford, of Eagleby in Queensland, was arrested on Friday when he was discharged from hospital.

Media set up outside Dubbo Local Court on Tuesday as accused man Robert Crockford was refused bail. Photo: JENNIFER HOAR

Media set up outside Dubbo Local Court on Tuesday as accused man Robert Crockford was refused bail. Photo: JENNIFER HOAR

On Tuesday the Crown opposed bail, submitting there were unacceptable risks of failing to appear, and of endangering the safety of the community. 

The matters were serious and represented a high degree of moral culpability should the accused be convicted, the Crown said.

The case included dash cam footage, which allegedly showed no signs of slowing, and the ferocity of the impact, the Crown said.

The Crown also submitted there were conflicting statements from the accused, who allegedly told paramedics his brakes did not work, and at a later date allegedly said he suffered from a coughing fit or blackout.

The maximum penalty for dangerous driving occasioning death was 10 years in jail, the Crown said.

The defence questioned the strength of the case, submitting that while on the facts Mr Crockford was the driver of the vehicle, that was not the entirety of the matters that would be considered.

The Legal Aid solicitor said her client’s discharge plan showed further medical examination, a respiratory sleep study, was needed.

He had strong communities ties, which mitigated risk of failing to appear, she said.

The defence proposed a NSW address for Mr Crockford to live at while on bail, that his mother could deposit $1000 as a cash surety, and other bail conditions.

Magistrate Paul Hayes said a person arrested and charged was entitled to the presumption of innocence.

“Bail is not denied simply as a punishment,” he said.

The court found there were unacceptable risks of failing to appear and endangering the safety of the community, on the basis of the strength of the prosecution case, the seriousness of the offence and the likelihood of a custodial sentence if convicted.

There were no conditions that could reasonably ameliorate the risks and bail was refused, Mr Hayes said.

EARLIER:

A truck driver charged after a fatal seven-vehicle crash near Dubbo has been refused bail.

Robert Crockford, 50, sat in a wheelchair as he faced Dubbo Local Court via video link on Tuesday morning.

He is charged with two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death, three counts of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and five negligent driving charges.

Nineteen-year-old Hannah Ferguson of Gulargambone and her boyfriend, Reagen Skinner, 21, died at the scene of the crash on the Newell Highway on January 16.

Mr Crockford, of Eagleby in Queensland, was arrested on Friday when he was discharged from hospital.

On Tuesday an application for bail was made on his behalf.

The Crown opposed bail, submitting there were unacceptable risks of failing to appear and endangering the safety of the community.

The defence proposed a NSW address for Mr Crockford to live at while on bail, that his mother could deposit $1000 as a cash surety that day, and offered a number of other bail conditions.

After hearing the submissions, magistrate Paul Hayes said the court found there were unacceptable risks of failing to appear and endangering the safety of the community.

He said on the balance of probabilities, there were no conditions that could reasonably ameliorate the bail risks.

Mr Crockford was remanded in custody to reappear in Dubbo Local Court on April 4.