DPP has no recollection: court told

Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis has no recollection of being on the wrong side of the road just before a crash that killed a young Launceston woman last year, a court has been told.

Mr Ellis, 58, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of causing death by negligent driving.

Launceston woman Natalia Pearn, 27, was killed in the crash on the Midland Highway on March 24 last year.

Crown prosecutor John Pickering SC has alleged that Mr Ellis was driving on the wrong side of the road for up to one kilometre before colliding with Ms Pearn's vehicle.

The prosecution will allege that the driving was "conscious and voluntary".

In opening address in the Hobart Magistrate's Court this morning, Mr Pickering said a reconstruction of the alleged driving behaviour will show Mr Ellis had to be conscious while on the wrong side of the road.

Mr Pickering said that witnesses called during the hearing will describe Mr Ellis's driving behaviour on the wrong side of the road as "immaculate".

The first witness called was Mr Ellis's wife Anita Smith, who described her husband as a "very safe driver".

Ms Smith recalled the accident as "the loudest noise I've ever heard in my life".

She said she was not aware the car was on the wrong side of the road.

"My head was down," she said.

Ms Smith said she recalled Mr Ellis saying at Campbell Town that he was "sick of driving".

Defence lawyer Michael O'Farrell questioned Ms Smith about Mr Ellis's diagnosed sleep apnoea condition and asked her to recall a time when Mr Ellis could not breath.

The court was later shown an interview between police and Mr Ellis from his hospital bed two days after the crash.

Mr Ellis said he could not explain why he was on the wrong side of the road.

In the interview, police read Mr Ellis comments from two witnesses, who described his car travelling south but being in the middle lane of a northbound over taking lane.

''It's news to me,'' Mr Ellis said. ''I don't recall it.

''Maybe I wasn't conscious, I don't know''

Mr Ellis said it was possible he had encountered a sleep apnoea episode or fallen asleep.

''I do have a history of it but I thought I'd overcome it,'' Mr Ellis told police.

Alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

Mr Ellis said he was surprised to learn there were two impacts involved in the crash.

The hearing continues at 2.15pm.

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