Justice served - emotions boil over as father cleared of son's death

TERRY Dennis choked back tears as he walked free from court yesterday after being cleared of his young son’s death, admitting “nothing will ever bring him back”.

A jury took less than an hour to find the 61-year-old father not guilty of dangerous driving causing the death of his 10-year-old boy, Nick, on February 19 last year.

Mr Dennis has no recollection of the head-on collision on the New England Highway at Tintinhull but said he suffers the pain every day.

“There was nothing that could have been done to me in there (court) that’s worse than what I go through every day,” an emotional Mr Dennis said when leaving Tamworth District Court yesterday.

“Nothing will ever bring him back.”

Ten-year-old Nick died almost instantly while his sister, Mr Dennis’ girlfriend and another woman in the oncoming Subaru Forester were seriously injured by the impact of the crash.

Mr Dennis was also found not guilty of dangerous driving charges relating to their injuries.

The 61-year-old suffered a broken sternum, ribs, a punctured lung and other injuries and spent almost two weeks in intensive care.

“I would like to send a very big thank you out to the people who did stop at the scene,” he said.

“Especially to the guy that did all he could for Nick.”

Mr Dennis said he still doesn’t know the names of those who helped on the fateful day, and the court proceedings prevented him from contacting them.

“It’s just another stepping stone so hopefully we can move forward,” he said.

“But it doesn’t answer the question ... I still don’t know what happened.

“They can’t do any more to me than what I go through every day ... but I was shocked and surprised it came back so quick.”

The jury was told they must not let sympathy or compassion sway their judgement in the deliberations.

The defence argued something dramatic had occurred, namely a coughing and sneezing fit, which prevented Mr Dennis from controlling the Mitsubishi Star wagon.

Public defender Richard Wilson had maintained the accused did not have control of the vehicle at the time of impact. The Crown prosecutor put to the jury the manner of driving was dangerous, because the accused had permitted the van to cross to the wrong side of the road before the impact.

The 12-member jury deliberated for less than an hour before the unanimous verdict of not guilty was handed down for one count of dangerous driving occasion the death of the 10-year-old boy, and three counts of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.

Nine people were called to give evidence during the trial including two victims in the oncoming Subaru Forester, four people driving either in front or behind the crash, two police officers and the accused’s girlfriend.

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