Queanbeyan man charged over driving attack as victim fights for life

A QUEANBEYAN woman is fighting for her life in Canberra Hospital after she was struck down by her own car in Crestwood on Saturday afternoon.

Her fiancé, 26-year-old Matthew Hamling, has been granted bail at Queanbeyan Local Court this morning in relation to the incident, but is yet to enter a plea to a charge of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.

The court heard that the 30-year-old Crestwood woman injured in the incident may never recover from the serious head trauma she experienced that day.

Police prosecutor Anthony Strik told the court he opposed Hamling being granted bail due to the seriousness of the incident and the injuries involved.

“Obviously the case is a most serious one. I understand the victim does not have a good prognosis of recovery,” the prosecutor said.

“Does that mean there’s a good chance she’s going to die,” asked magistrate Chris Bone.

“She’s not in a good situation your honour. I can’t give you a percentage…but it’s unlikely she will survive, your honour,” Mr Strik said.

The incident occurred around 5pm on Saturday, September 20. The court heard that the couple had been drinking in their apartment that afternoon when an argument broke out between them.

It’s alleged that Hamling left the apartment and got into his fiancé’s car, and was joined by a friend, who sat in the passenger seat. The court heard that the victim asked for her car not to be taken, and climbed on the bonnet to prevent it being driven off.

Police allege that Hamling then drove off for around 200-250 metres before slamming on the brakes, causing the victim to fall head first on to the roadside. It’s alleged the male passenger fled the scene.

Hamling is alleged to have stayed at the scene to administer first aid to the victim, along with some neighbouring residents. Police facts before the court allege Hamling said “That’s my girl. Trust the bloody driver to run off.” Hamling subsequently told police he wasn’t the driver of the vehicle.

Police prosecutor Strik told the court the police case would rely on evidence provided by at least one witness to the incident to identify the driver.

Meanwhile, duty solicitor Rosemary Benet acknowledged the charges were “very, very serious” but said her client had voluntarily attended Queanbeyan Police Station yesterday for questioning about the incident, and would adhere to strict reporting conditions if granted bail.

And Magistrate Bone said the accused’s lack of a criminal record meant he could be granted bail.

“He hasn’t committed a serious offence in the past, and I can’t see any evidence before me that he’s likely to commit one in the future,” the magistrate said.

Hamling was supported in court by his mother, who travelled to Queanbeyan from Albury for the bail hearing. He’ll reappear in Queanbeyan Local Court on October 10.

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