In the public interest
The first day of the inquest proceeded mostly as expected:
- Counsel Assisting presented a summary of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) evidence.
- Senior Constable Potts of the AFP presented his statement.
- A lawyer for ACT Roads asked Senior Constable Potts some questions in cross examination.
- Monash University Accident Research Centre presented the report they prepared for the Coroner.
- Senior Constable Potts of the AFP was cross-examined by lawyers for the race organisers and for Mike Hall’s former partner Anna Haslock.
Cycle has some questions – in the public interest – pertaining to the evidence presented. These questions are expected to be addressed in the coming two days, and include the following:
- Mike Hall’s clothing was not retained or admitted into evidence to be examined, and yet it was alleged that his clothing was not visible and had no reflective properties.
- The Inquest was advised that Mike Hall’s rear bag was returned to the family. This remains a source of contention. The bag was not admitted into evidence, and therefore the presence of reflective strips that Mike’s former partner asserts Mike had added to the back of his bag now cannot be established.
- The AFP tested the car’s remaining front light and found the light to be below the required brightness to pass a roadworthy test in both NSW and the ACT. The officer who tested the light stated that he did not know what the legally required brightness was.
- Monash University Accident Research Centre was specifically asked to investigate if Mike Hall’s rear light was sufficiently bright to meet the standard of the road rules. Other aspects including driver distraction were examined in the report even though this was not specifically requested.
- Senior Constable Potts of the AFP created a video using a reconstruction of Mike Hall’s bike to examine how visible Mike Hall would have been. This reconstruction placed the bike off the road to the left, substituted the Dynamo hub with a 6-volt battery, excluded the rear bag and its reflective strip, excluded any person or clothing, excluded any front white light shining on the road, and excluded any human movement of the bike. There was also a Police light stationed near the bike and an oncoming car in the simulation that was admitted into evidence by the AFP. In the submitted video, the reconstructed bike was difficult to see.
- A documentary that had extensive video footage of Mike Hall’s rear light and clothing and reflective strip on this rear bag was not viewed by the AFP until two weeks prior to the Coronial Inquest. This video evidence was only introduced to the Coroner’s Court as evidence on Day 1 of the Inquest, and this was only done at the request of the lawyer representing Anna Haslock.
- The driver was interviewed by AFP officers at least three times. In the first interview the driver stated that he left his home at 5:30 am. In subsequent interviews he stated that he left home at 5 am. The statement admitted into evidence by Senior Constable Potts of the AFP only included the earlier time. The AFP officers interviewing the driver did not question the inconsistency of the driver’s statements. It was asserted by Counsel Assisting that the driver was driving within the speed limit.
Please enjoy this video of Mike Hall as he was entering Cooma south of Canberra the night before he was struck.