Driver awaits sentence over hit and run in Launceston CBD

A driver who ran over a pedestrian during a roadside confrontation in Launceston will be sentenced later this month.

Nicholas James Bye, 23, of Newnham, had claimed he didn’t realise he had run over the pedestrian’s legs when he drove off from the scene in February 2016.

The victim was 47-year-old Campbell Barnes, who was walking home from a night out at the casino when he noticed the defendant, who he claimed was driving in a “hoonish manner”. 

After Mr Barnes commented on the car, Bye turned around and drove up to where he was walking along Charles Street.

Words were spoken and as Bye drove off, Mr Barnes was hit.

He was left lying on the ground with two broken legs until a police officer from the nearby station heard him calling out for help.

Bye was charged with being involved in a crash and failing to stop as well as causing grievous bodily harm to another person by negligent driving. 

He pleaded not guilty.

During a hearing into the incident, defence lawyer Evan Hughes argued Mr Barnes was drunk and aggressive towards his client.

Mr Barnes previously admitted to the court he said Bye’s car “sounded like a piece of shit”, but didn’t think the driver heard him.

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He told the court the 4WD did a u-turn and “rushed” towards him, before driving within inches of his body.

“I went to the passenger window … I said what the f--- are you doing? You nearly hit me,” Mr Barnes said during the hearing.

“Next thing I know I’m on the ground and I can’t move.”

The defendant’s brother also gave evidence, telling the court Bye called the police after receiving a Facebook message telling him he had hit someone.

But Magistrate Sharon Cure was not satisfied Bye did not know he hit Mr Barnes.

Handing down her decision on Tuesday, Ms Cure said she could not determine whether he did in fact realise, but she was satisfied he “failed to keep a proper look out” and “he should have stopped”.

She found both charges against Bye had been proven during the hearing.

Mr Hughes urged Ms Cure not to disqualify his client from driving and said a fine would be an appropriate sentence.

Bye was bailed until his next appearance on April 30, when he is expected to be sentenced.