British visitor gets jail for hit-and-run
A WORKING holiday turned into a nightmare for an Englishman who was jailed yesterday over a bloody hitand-run at Port Douglas in October last year.
Alex Ronald Bringes, 29, was sentenced in Cairns District Court yesterday to three years jail after he drove an unregistered and uninsured car without a licence and struck a man, then fled the scene despite having a shattered windscreen and a missing rear vision mirror from the impact.
The court heard Bringes, whose sentence will be suspended after he serves 10 months, denied any involvement in his first police interview and said he had found his car stolen after he left a Port Douglas night spot, but he later contacted them to provide a different statement.
The Brisbane victim was at Port Douglas for a work conference and suffered an upper arm fracture which left him with ongoing nerve damage and cuts to his scalp and back.
The court heard the victim had no recollection of the incident until he woke up from his first surgery at Cairns Base Hospital.
Prosecutor Joseph Crawfoot said Bringes left the Iron Bar at Port Douglas on October 17 last year and drove along a straight stretch of road on Mudlo St before he attempted to overtake some parked cars and veered on to the wrong side of the road, striking the Brisbane man who was also walking to his lodgings from the Iron Bar.
Mr Crawfoot said Bringes then drove 3.8km to Four Mile Beach where he abandoned his car.
The victim managed to walk himself back to his lodgings and his colleagues called 000.
Police later found blood at the scene as well as the car’s rear vision mirror and a gouge mark on the ground. Defence barrister James Sheridan said Bringes panicked but felt awful and wanted to know what happened to the man. ‘‘ He told police he panicked, the car was unregistered... he said, ‘I don’t have any excuse at all I just panicked’,’’ he said. ‘‘He described at the relevant time he went to overtake parked cars and veered to the incorrect side of the road and hit the complainant.’’
Judge Kerry O’Brien told Bringes he accepted he was remorseful and there was no evidence he was affected by alcohol or excess speed but said it was ‘‘morally reprehensible’’ not to stop. ‘‘It has been said before (failing to remain at the scene) is morally reprehensible conduct,’’ he said. ‘‘You did not stop to investigate the condition (of the victim), did not report the accident and denied responsibility.’’
Bringes is disqualified from holding a licence for three years.