By court reporter Candice Prosser
An Adelaide woman who caused the death of her four-year-old daughter in a freeway crash while driving under the influence of methylamphetamine has been refused permission to withdraw her guilty plea.
Kylie Anne Hie, 34, pleaded guilty to an aggravated count of causing death by dangerous driving on the first day of her District Court trial in August.
Hie’s four-year-old daughter, Charlotte Hie, was killed in November 2013 when Hie crashed her van while attempting a “tight and ambitious” overtaking manoeuvre of a slow-moving truck on the down track of the South Eastern Freeway at Leawood Gardens.
Her daughter was in a child seat in the front passenger side of the van, which bore the brunt of the collision with the truck.
After hearing the prosecution’s opening address and voluntarily going on a court view to visit the crash site, which had a memorial shrine for her daughter, she changed her plea to guilty.
The next day she then applied to withdraw that guilty plea, arguing her psychological state was not stable after visiting her daughter’s shrine and she was not fit to make an informed decision.
Judge Paul Slattery dismissed her application.
In his written ruling, he said it was clear Hie had received proper advice from her solicitors who had dealt with her matter in a careful, consistent and sensitive way, and her decision was informed and deliberate.
“I am satisfied that when Ms Hie entered her plea, she was unaffected by any form of coercion, pressure or attempted persuasion of her to enter in a plea on one basis or another.
“For the same reasons, I would reject any contention by Ms Hie that she was incapable of making a decision to plead guilty.”
Hie wanted to avoid trial, court told
The judge said Hie’s own evidence was unconvincing and he was “unable to accept her evidence”.
“Taking every consideration into account — and this includes the stress and anxiety upon Ms Hie having regard to her position — I have found Ms Hie to be a completely unconvincing witness who I am not prepared to accept as a credit-worthy witness,” Judge Slattery said.
The court heard Hie expressed concern about whether the prosecution would oppose a suspended sentence and wanted to plead guilty to avoid sitting through a trial.
Witness saw Hie driving ‘recklessly and impatiently’
The impact of the crash caused Hie’s van to also crash into another car, and caused another third vehicle to take evasive action and crash into a concrete barrier.
The court heard other motorists had seen Hie driving recklessly and impatiently, including tailgating and drifting out of her lane, before the collision.
Hie was on her way back from a funeral in Mount Gambier and the court heard she had allegedly told a nurse after the crash that she had been fatigued while driving.
She tested positive to 0.34mg of methylamphetamine per litre of blood.
Judge Slattery said a prosecution witness, who would have been called at the trial, saw Hie appear to look to her right before executing the manoeuvre, demonstrating the driving was voluntary and not a result of a seizure as Hie had previously claimed.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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