Lismore Court House in Zadoc Street.
Lismore Court House in Zadoc Street. Marc Stapelberg

'Death threats' for man who allegedly fled crash scene

A DRIVER accused of abandoning three seriously injured passengers after a car crash near Lismore has been refused bail.

Michael Gordon Foster, 34, appeared in the glass walled dock of Lismore Local Court after his extradition from Cairns, Queensland yesterday.

Mr Foster was charged with three counts of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and three counts of failing to stop and assist after a vehicle impact, plus one count of negligent driving, in relation to a crash on Naughton's Gap Rd at Tuncester in the early hours of Sunday July 9 last year.

Police allege about 3.30am Mr Foster lost control of the car at high speed, hitting an embankment, which caused the car to roll several times before it came to rest on its roof in a nearby paddock.

After phoning for help, Mr Foster allegedly left the scene in a car which arrived before paramedics and police.

The occupants, two men aged 25 and 26, and a woman, 31, sustained life threatening injuries and were taken to Lismore Base Hospital.

Police issued a warrant for Mr Foster's arrest but he left the region and moved to Cairns.

He was eventually arrested in Townsville last Thursday by Queensland Police.

It was heard in court today that Mr Foster was on parole at the time of the alleged crash for serious offences previously sentenced in the District Court.

Legal aid solicitor Kate Brady applied for bail on his behalf, suggesting Mr Foster would reside in Goonellabah with his brother, who would provide a $1000 cash surety to the court.

Ms Brady said her client was also injured in the crash, suffering "concussion and shock".

He had believed an ambulance was on its way to the scene before he left.

She said Mr Foster left the Northern Rivers because he was receiving "death threats" from the other occupants of the crashed car.

She said there was "no indication" he had failed to comply with parole before the alleged crash and had "strong community ties" to the area.

She also argued the Crown case was "limited to evidence of the alleged victims" and had provided no expert witnesses to support the allegation that Mr Foster was driving dangerously at the time.

She said her client had various medical conditions requiring him to be at liberty, including spinal injuries and he was also on referral for intravenous pain therapy.

But police prosecutor Brett Gradisnik said the Crown had a "very strong prosecution case" and said there was a risk if bailed Mr Foster would fail to appear.

"Since the date of this allegation he's chosen to remove himself to Queensland, about as far (away) as you can get, in Cairns, and not once sought to hand himself in," he told the court.

He said there was nothing before the court to suggest that Mr Foster's medical conditions couldn't be properly treated in a custodial setting.

In refusing bail, Magistrate Jeff Linden said Mr Foster he came to court with "a number of failures to appear and failures to comply with bail" and agreed that there was a risk he would not appear if granted bail.

The matter was adjourned until July 4 to return to Lismore Local Court for mention.



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