Ellis called to give evidence in crash hearing

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Tim Ellis, SC, has been called to the stand to give evidence in the hearing against him after defence lawyer Michael O'Farrell, SC, unsuccessfully tried to get the case thrown out.

Mr Ellis has pleaded not guilty to causing death by negligent driving in an accident that claimed the life of Launceston woman Natalia Pearn a year ago.

The prosecution wrapped up its case against Mr Ellis in the Hobart Magistrates Court this morning. 

Crown Prosecutor John Pickering, SC, has alleged Mr Ellis was driving on the wrong side of the Midland Highway for up to one kilometre before he collided with the Corolla driven by Miss Pearn, and that his driving was ``conscious and voluntary''.

A respiratory and sleep physician told the court this morning that the fact that Mr Ellis ``had a good night's sleep'' before the accident was ``important information that would steer against a sleep-related motor vehicle accident''.

Mr O'Farrell has argued that because there was no evidence of evasive action to avoid the collision, Mr Ellis's driving was not consistent with the driving of a conscious and voluntary person, which is required under the charge.

Mr O'Farrell submitted this morning to Magistrate Chris Webster that Mr Ellis had "no case to answer", because the evidence was not sufficient to prove Mr Ellis's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr O'Farrell told the court that Mr Pickering, ``could not win on the issue of voluntariness''.

Magistrate Chris Webster said he was a ``satisfied there was a case to answer'', and Mr Ellis has been called to the stand to give evidence.

Mr Ellis has been reminded several times by Mr Webster that in this case he is the defendant, and not the prosecutor.  

The hearing continues this afternoon.

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