Alcohol will be factor in drive count over crash that killed Jarrah Spaan

ALCOHOL is expected to be a major factor in the case against a Bright man facing a culpable driving charge over a crash that killed his passenger.

That was revealed by John Paul Cole’s solicitor during a mention of the matter in the Wangaratta Magistrates Court yesterday.

Cole, 35, has not entered a plea over the charge, which resulted from a crash on Bright’s Churchill Avenue on April 26 just before 1am.

Jarrah Spaan, 23, died in the crash.

Cole has been in custody since he was arrested by police several hours later.

Solicitor Geoff Clancy asked magistrate Stella Stuthridge to further adjourn the case to a contested committal mention in Wangaratta next month.

“There will be a central issue in this matter,” Mr Clancy said.

“The issue is going to be alcohol.”

Mr Clancy did not go into any more detail about how alcohol might or might not have played a role in the crash.

There was initial doubt the case could go ahead in any way yesterday without Cole being present either in court or via video link from prison.

But Ms Stuthridge said she had recently received advice that a case could go ahead in such circumstances.

Cole had been able to brief his solicitor for yesterday’s matter.

The crash involving Cole’s Holden Commodore happened on a bend in an 80km/h zone on Churchill Avenue as he drove near the Back Wandiligong Road.

Police allege that Cole fled the scene.

Major collision investigation detectives from Melbourne charged Cole by 7.30am that same day.

It was initially indicated that Cole would apply for bail during his third appearance over the matter in Wangaratta on May 1.

But Cole, via his then solicitor Alison Vaughan, changed his mind.

Yesterday Ms Stuthridge was told that Cole would once again not apply for bail.

Ms Stuthridge adjourned Cole’s case to August 14.

“He is remanded in custody to that day,” she said.