Jury unable to reach a unanimous verdict on death crash trial

AFTER more than a day of deliberations an Ipswich jury has been unable to reach a decision on the guilt of Tanya Marie Smith.

Smith, 41, has been on trial at the Ipswich District Court accused of dangerously operating a car on the New England Hwy on June 29, 2010 causing the death of Grace Thompson, and grievous bodily harm to one of her passengers. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The jury was discharged yesterday after being unable to unanimously reach a verdict.

Yesterday morning the jury asked to be read portions of the evidence for a second time. They re-heard evidence from witnesses who were among the first on the scene.

On Monday and Tuesday the court heard allegations that on the afternoon of June 29, 2010, Smith was driving a red Mitsubishi Magna north from Stanthorpe, while Bruce Thompson, now 83, was driving towards Stanthorpe.

Mr Thompson told the court he drove over a rise and saw the Magna veer fully into his lane. He alleged he "didn't know what to do" and swerved into the northbound lane, but he said Smith veered back into her lane striking him.

Smith maintains she did not drive out of her lane. Defence lawyer Frank Martin suggested Mr Thompson, who had admitted to normally having an afternoon nap around the time of the crash, may have nodded off. He denied this in cross-examination.

The matter will be mentioned again in the Ipswich District Court later this month.

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