Driver on fatal Bright accident charge will ask for bail

A MAN from Bright facing a culpable driving charge over a crash that killed his passenger winced in pain when he appeared briefly in court yesterday morning.

John Paul Cole’s Holden Commodore struck a power pole on Bright’s Churchill Avenue early on Saturday.

Police have alleged that Cole fled the scene of the crash in central Bright, leaving behind his passenger, Jarrah Spaan, who died in the accident.

Dressed in jeans and a polo top, Cole clearly appeared in discomfort in Wangaratta Magistrates Court yesterday as he placed his right hand against the left side of his chest several times.

Cole, 35, also struggled as he leaned over the dock to shake the hand of his solicitor, Geoff Clancy, after he was further remanded in custody.

He still managed a smile and a thumbs-up to supporters in the court as he was taken out.

Yesterday was the second court appearance for Cole after fronting an out-of-sessions hearing on Saturday night.

Cole, who moved to Bright six months ago, did not enter a plea yesterday to counts of culpable driving, dangerous driving causing death, failure to stop and failure to render assistance.

Mr Clancy told magistrate John O’Callaghan that Cole was not applying for bail.

“My understanding is a bail application will be made on Thursday,” he said.

Prosecutor Sen-Constable Heath Dosser said police would strongly oppose bail.

Sen-Constable Dosser said he expected a contested bail application would take at least one hour to hear.

The crash happened on a bend in an 80km/h zone on Churchill Avenue in Bright just before 1am as Cole was driving south near Back Wandiligong Road.

By 7.30am, major collision investigation group detectives from Melbourne had laid charges against Cole.

Sen-Constable Dosser told Mr O’Callaghan that several officers would give evidence on Thursday as to why Cole should not receive bail.