Bri­tish vis­i­tor gets jail for hit-and-run

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Caitlin Guil­foyle

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.

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