Teen to answer charges despite his HSC

By Alex Easton

LOOMING HSC practise exams will not stop a teenager charged with the deaths of four mates in a car crash at Broken Head from facing court, Lismore Magistrate Nick Reimer said yesterday.

Mr Reimer rejected a bid by the teen in the Lismore Children's Court to have the case put off until November or December so he can focus on completing his HSC year.

The teen, who cannot be named because of his age, has been charged with four counts each of negligent and dangerous driving causing the deaths of his four mates Corey New, Mitch Eveleigh, Paul Morris and Bryce Wells last October.

The crash shocked the region and the nation, sparking a renewed debate over tougher P-plate driving laws in NSW.

Defence solicitor Ian McKay, backed by prosecutors from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, successfully deferred the case in April to give each side time to prepare.

Mr McKay yesterday told the court the teen had recently learned HSC practise exams would be held from August 20 to 30.

The teen feared he would be unable to properly focus on those exams if the hearing was running at the same time. Mr McKay said the teen had already missed exams late last year because of the accident, and did not want to be further disadvantaged academically.

However, the DPP prosecutor yesterday wasn't interested in another adjournment, and neither was Magistrate Nick Reimer.

Mr Reimer noted the matter had been set down for a hearing four months ago, while the prosecutor said changing it now would be unfair to the%families of the four boys.

The 'new' information about the practise exams would have been available when the hearing date was first being set and, if it was an issue, it should have been raised then.

"I would imagine every year there are trials and final%exams," Mr Reimer said.

The DPP prosecutor said witnesses in the case had%already set aside time to attend the hearing.

He said the families of the four deceased persons were%also interested in seeing the matter progressed Mr Reimer agreed.

"These matters have been set down for four months and the final date set is appropriate and I'm not prepared to accept that (the HSC practise exams) as a valid reason," Mr Reimer said.

"There (have been) a great deal ofarrangements made to make sure these dates are set. It's a matter importance to all the people associated with it, and to have it deferred again after four months is unacceptable."

Mr Reimer rejected the application and confirmed the hearing dates for August 20, 21 and 22 in the Lismore Children's Court.



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