Albury driver ‘was blatantly dangerous’

Stephen Robins

Stephen Robins

AN Albury man involved in a fatal crash at Browns Plains was allegedly driving in a “blatantly dangerous” manner.

This was the scenario put to a jury in Wangaratta yesterday as the County Court trial of Stephen John Robins, 45, began.

Robins, formerly of Corowa, was involved in a two-car crash on the Barnawartha-Howlong Road on February 9, 2010 which led to the death of Wodonga man Andrew Powell, 24.

Robins, who did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system at the time, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of culpable driving.

The jury of seven women and five men listened as Crown prosecutor Andrew Moore, in his opening statements to court, painted a picture of the fateful day.

“The day was hot and sunny, the road was dry ... it was a normal country road, a speed limit of 100km/h ... a single broken white line in the middle,” he said.

Robins was returning home to Corowa and Mr Powell was travelling in the opposite direction, on his way home from work at Uncle Tobys in Wahgunyah, when the crash occurred about 3.30pm.

Mr Moore alleged that Robins’ white Commodore travelled into the wrong lane while failing to take a left-hand bend near Doolans Road and Fleggs Road, and struck Mr Powell’s red Toyota.

Robins himself suffered serious injuries in the crash, and it was several months before he was well enough for police to interview him, at which point he said he could not remember what had happened.

Mr Moore said the jury would hear from witnesses who would say Robins had been driving erratically before the crash, establishing a “pattern” of bad driving.

“The accused drove his car wholly across the other side of the road, it was a blatantly dangerous manoeuvre which gave the deceased really no chance,” he said.

Defence barrister Denis Connell, however, said evidence would show his client was travelling between 95 and 100km/h — within the speed limit, and standard for that stretch of road.

He would also raise questions over Mr Powell’s actions prior to the crash, as he had slowed down from 70km/h to just 10km/h at the time of impact.

The trial before Judge Chris O’Neill resumes this morning with the first witness.