ALBURY’S coroner, Tony Murray, yesterday terminated his inquest into the death of four people in a bus crash at Splitter’s Creek and referred the matter to the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mr Murray has ordered the evidence in the case be forwarded to Nicholas Cowdery QC after finding there was evidence capable of satisfying a jury that someone had committed an indictable offence.
An inquest into the deaths of Corowa bus driver Greg Petrie, 44, Caroline Page, 84, and Barbara Crouch, 58, both of Howlong, and Corowa man Kelvin Fearn, 67, began before Mr Murray on August 18, 2005.
Evidence in the case extended over six days, with submissions on November 2 last year.
There were submissions from the police officer assisting the coroner, Sgt Bob Hanzic, barristers representing the RTA and Minister for Transport, an insurance company, the former bus company owners, Albury neurologist Dr Ron Brooder, 10 people injured in the accident and Corowa doctor Rodney Barkman.
Mr Murray said he terminated the inquest under a section of the Coroner’s Act and formally found the four people died on or about May 2, 2002.
“I am satisfied in each case that the admissable evidence is capable of satisfying a jury beyond reasonable doubt that a known person has committed an indictable offence,” he said.
“There is a reasonable prospect that a jury properly instructed would convict that person.”
Mr Murray said in accordance with established procedure he did not publish reasons for such a decision and the “known person” would not be identified.
He has directed the police brief of evidence, all tendered exhibits, transcripts of the proceedings and evidence and written submissions from each interested party be forwarded to Mr Cowdery.
The inquest was told a small bus driven by Mr Petrie was Corowa-bound when it veered off the road, clipped a tree and slammed into a large gum tree.
Mr Petrie, who had a history of epilepsy, was killed instantly and witnesses indicated he had slumped over the steering wheel before the accident.
Mr Murray had been told restrictions relating to driving had been put on Mr Petrie by a neurologist.
But Dr Ron Brooder, of Albury, completed a medical certificate on July 30, 2001, indicating that Mr Petrie was “fit” to drive and have a heavy vehicle licence.
Sgt Hanzic in a submission raised the issues of involuntary manslaughter and making or using a false instrument.