Our client was charged with Negligent Driving Occasioning Death after being involved in a high-speed, head-on collision with another car on a country highway.
Eyewitnesses made statements to the effect that our client had been driving perfectly in the lead up to the accident, before veering in a straight line onto the wrong side of the road.
An oncoming car was unable to swerve out of the way in time, and the driver tragically sustained critical injuries as a result of the crash.
Our client spent considerable sums of money on other lawyers who each neglected to advise her of any available defence despite the fact that she failed to recollect the period immediately prior to veering onto the wrong side of the road. They each advised her to plead guilty.
To us, it was immediately obvious that she may have fallen asleep – which is a defence to charges of negligent driving, reckless driving and dangerous driving in light of the decision in Jiminez, provided that the defendant had no reason to believe he or she would fall asleep.
We referred her to a sleep clinic, where a specialist indeed diagnosed her with obstructive sleep apnoea. This previously undiagnosed condition meant that she had a higher chance of suddenly and uncontrollably falling asleep without warning. We obtained a report to the effect that there was a possibility she had fallen asleep before the collision, despite not feeling tired.
The matter proceeded to a two-day defended hearing in Young Local Court, where our client was found not guilty.