Defence solicitor Ralph James enters Lismore Court House yesterday.
Defence solicitor Ralph James enters Lismore Court House yesterday.

Fatal crash teen pleads not guilty

By Alex Easton

A MAN who lost four mates when the car he was driving crashed near Byron Bay last year yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of causing their deaths.

The man, who was 17 at the time of the accident and cannot be named for legal reasons, faced Lismore District Children's Court yesterday charged with four counts of dangerous driving causing death; one charge for each of his friends Paul Morris, Corey New, Mitch Eveleigh and Bryce Wells.

Wearing a dark suit and an expressionless face, the man responded 'not guilty' as each of the charges was read out.

The crash on the Coast Road near the Broken Head turn-off on October 22 last year shocked the region and the nation.

It also triggered a new round of debate on the laws governing P-plate drivers, with parents of the boys calling for improved training for young drivers.

Judge Ron Solomon agreed to adjourn the case for mention until Monday, November 5, while Legal Aid tried to secure 'two or three' experts for the defence case.

The young man's solicitor, Ralph James, later said he expected the case to go to trial around April next year.

He said the trial would probably be conducted before a jury, although the defence had the option of asking it be held before a judge. At present there were no plans to exercise that option.



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