TASMANIA'S top prosecutor who is accused of causing a fatal car crash will try to get his case heard by a Tasmanian magistrate.
Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis pleaded not guilty in the Hobart Magistrates Court yesterday to causing death through negligent driving.
Mr Ellis, 58, allegedly crashed his Mercedes into 27-year-old Natalia Pearn's hatchback on the Midland Highway on March 24.
The West Launceston woman was killed instantly.
Mr Ellis, who is still recovering from a broken leg received in the crash and appeared in court on crutches yesterday, has been on leave since the incident.
Chief Magistrate Michael Hill said he had taken steps to engage an interstate magistrate to hear the case, as all Tasmania's 14 magistrates had disqualified themselves.
However, Mr Ellis's lawyer, Michael O'Farrell, SC, said it was inappropriate for magistrates to disqualify themselves before the case had even begun.
``We determined there are at least five magistrates in Hobart who have no grounds to disqualify themselves,'' Mr O'Farrell said.
Mr Hill said the case should be heard by an interstate magistrate to ensure the public perception was not that justice had not been done.
But Mr O'Farrell said the public perception should not be a problem if it was ``done in a principled way''.
``Mr Ellis, like any citizen, is entitled to be given due process under the laws of this state, and for all the magistrates to have indicated in his absence that they have disqualified themselves is not behaving in a principled way,'' Mr O'Farrell said.
After the crash Attorney-General Brian Wightman appointed an interstate coroner, Victorian Justice Ian Gray, to handle the initial investigation and appointed New South Wales deputy director of public prosecutions John Pickering as Crown law officer to advise Tasmania Police on the eventual charge.
The case was adjourned to November 11 for more argument on the issue.
Mr Ellis will not be required to attend.