An emotional embrace of relief left the courtroom silent when the man accused of causing the death of a Thorpdale motorcyclist was acquitted of all charges in Latrobe Valley County Court yesterday.
Thorpdale man Glenn Ewan Murphy embraced his wife when he was released from the dock after being found not guilty of dangerous driving causing the death of 55 year-old Martin Borg in Thorpdale in 2013.
At an earlier committal hearing in September, the Magistrates’ Court was told on 2 August 2013 Mr Murphy was travelling west on Saviges Road, Thorpdale on his way to work at his parents’ farm and had decided to turn right into the farm’s driveway when his Toyota Hilux collided with Mr Borg’s BMW motorcycle, which was travelling east along the gravel road.
Justice John Smallwood said yesterday it was unclear whether Mr Murphy had begun to turn into the driveway or not at the time of the crash.
After hearing evidence and a reconstruction of the events, Justice Smallwood ruled the jury could not decide on the verdict as Mr Murphy could not lawfully be convicted of the charges.
“As a matter of law there is no evidence of which this man can be convicted,” he said.
The contentious point put to the jury throughout the trial was whether Mr Murphy was driving on the wrong side of the road.
Justice Smallwood told the jury based on evidence provided by witnesses and measuring of the road, Mr Borg was likely to have been on the wrong side of the road and Mr Murphy would have only been on his wrong side after applying his brakes and being unable to steer his vehicle.
“If you want to be brutally critical about it, the bike’s on the wrong side of the road,” Justice Smallwood said.
“It’s not putting any blame on the deceased, a man is dead here.”