Louise Owen
Louise Owen Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Jury to decide whether Louise Owen guilty over fatal crash

JURY members in the trial of Louise Owen over the fatal car crash that killed 62-year-old Casino grandmother Heather Flack today retire to decide the Lennox Head woman's guilt or innocence.

Owen has pleaded not guilty to a charge of of dangerous driving occasioning death, relating to the fatal crash on the Bruxner Highway on March 20, 2012.

Judge L Wells said a key role for the jury would be to determine whether or not Owen's driving was "conscious and voluntary".

Defence expert witness Grant Johnston was the last to give evidence as a civil engineer specialising in crash reconstruction.

He said based on evidence such as the points of impact, gouges in the road and the resting place of both cars, the black Subaru sedan being driven by Owen west towards Casino appeared to continue straight ahead as the road veered left, crossing into the opposite lane.

Mr Johnston said the victim, who died in the crash, appeared to have taken "evasive action" by swerving to the left and hitting the brakes, after "perceiving a threat" from Owen's car travelling in the opposite direction.

He said Owen did "not respond for at least two seconds as she drifted into the opposing lane."

The Crown prosecutor told the court the medical evidence, and evidence given by three witnesses who saw the collision, went against the defence's case that Owen fainted or blacked-out moments before the crash.

He said Owen's regular GP Dr Ann Staughton had no record of fainting or black-outs since the accused had a heart transplant in 2009.

Owen's barrister Gemunu Kumarasinhe cited inconsistencies in the witness statements and said medical expert witnesses could not rule out fainting or black-outs.

He said both accident reconstruction experts, Detective Senior Constable Phillip John Priest and Grant Johnston, agreed Owen did not appear to take evasive action after crossing into the wrong lane.


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