P-plate driver faces court over double fatal tragedy

A P-PLATE driver who was driving an unregistered high performance sports car when it crashed, killing two, is expected to enter a plea when he next appears in court.

Ben Vincent Knight, 22, appeared briefly before Lismore Local Court on Tuesday where he was represented by his solicitor Hugh van Dugteren.

Mr van Dugteren told the court his client was supposed to be committed for sentencing or trial in the District Court but there was confusion about the agreed facts of the case.

"The agreed facts are very different to what I had seen previously," Mr van Dugteren told Magistrate David Heilpern.

"It should be a committal for sentence, Your Honour, I'm just concerned about the facts because I'm going to be asking for a pre-sentence report."

Mr van Dugteren indicated his client would be entering pleas to two charges of dangerous driving occasioning death once the agreed facts were resolved.

On the night of Tuesday September 27 last year Knight was driving a red Nissan 300ZX with four passengers on Mount Lindesay Rd Woodenbong when it left the road and crashed into an embankment at high speed.

Two passengers, a 17-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man were airlifted to hospitals in Brisbane but they died three days later.

Knight, and a 17-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy were treated at the scene before being taken to Lismore Base Hospital. Knight was later transferred to Gold Coast Hospital in a critical but stable condition.

In January Knight was charged with two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death and one count of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, and the alternative charges of negligent driving occasioning death and negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.

He was also charged with using an unregistered vehicle, not complying with provisional restrictions on using a high performance vehicle, driver and passengers not wearing seatbelts, and driver occupying seats where seatbelts were not fitted.

Magistrate Heilpern adjourned the matter to August 8 when it is expected to proceed to a committal for sentencing in the District Court.


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