Guilty plea over death crash

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 29 Juli 2013 | 19.55

A MAN accused of fleeing the scene of a deadly car crash in February 2012 did not abandon his mate, the Launceston Magistrates Court has heard.

Tristan Gilbert, 32, today pleaded guilty to causing death by negligent driving, plus a range of charges including resisting a police officer, escape, burglary, stealing and minor firearms and drugs charges.

Defence counsel Evan Hughes said after crashing a turbocharged 1998 Nissan Skyline into a tree on the East Tamar Highway, having lost control at an estimated 118km/h, Gilbert had helped to lift unconscious Troy Lee Dolbey out of the car, fearing that the car would catch fire.

Mr Hughes said Mr Dolbey had regained consciousness outside the car and Gilbert had asked him if he needed to go to hospital.

The court heard that an ambulance had been called and that Gilbert only fled the scene when he heard the ambulance siren. Mr Hughes said Gilbert could have done little more to help Mr Dolbey, who later died in hospital from internal injuries.

Mr Hughes said Gilbert suffered from bipolar disorder and associated anxiety, which was a factor in his ongoing amphetamine addiction.

He said Gilbert had received death threats following the crash and he had fled the state with his partner and two children aged under five, taking only what they could carry. Mr Hughes said Gilbert had abandoned his home near Launceston.

"The home which he built with his own hands was burned down as an act of revenge," Mr Hughes said.

He said other property, including a jet ski and woodworking tools, had been stolen from him.

The court heard that after Gilbert had been extradited back from Queensland in April this year, he had been assaulted in custody, taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital to receive six stitches, and had attempted to get away from a guard, who was attempting to hand cuff him upon leaving the hospital.

Mr Hughes said Gilbert, originally from NSW, was an accomplished woodworker whose work had been exhibited widely around Australia and the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship.

He said Gilbert was also a talented snow skier and sportsman.

He said Gilbert had not been familiar with the car which he crashed on February 6, 2012, a powerful car in an unroadworthy condition with two bald tyres, which he said had been a primary contributor to the crash on wet roads.

Magistrate Tim Hill ordered Gilbert to remain in custody while an assessment was made on his eligibility for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, a process that could delay sentencing for longer than a month.

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