A TORRYBURN man has pleaded guilty to causing the death of his older brother during a crash at East Gresford last year.
Gerard Brennan, 33, was due to face the first day of an estimated seven-day trial in Newcastle District Court on Monday, but was re-arraigned and pleaded guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death.
A charge of negligent driving occasioning death and altering the concentration of alcohol will be taken into account when he is sentenced in April next year.
Gerard Brennan’s older brother, 41-year-old Damien Francis Brennan, died after the Toyota HiLux they were travelling in hit a guard rail and rolled on Bingleburra Road, East Gresford, between 4.15am and 4.51am on July 17.
It was extremely foggy on Bingleburra Road when the two men set off from The Beatty Hotel at Gresford after an evening of drinking and playing the poker machines.
Gerard Brennan later told crash investigators that due to the conditions he told his brother to put his seat belt on before they left.
But not long into their journey, Damien Brennan started “mucking around”, the younger brother said during his police interview.
“Trying to drive a car and yeah he’s ripped my handbrake on,” Gerard Brennan said. “It’s kicked me out sideways.”
Gerard Brennan later clarified that the handbrake “didn’t stay on”, but it was enough for him to take his hands off the wheel.
“It’s locked us and kicked us sideways,” he said.
“And right about then … I hit the fog as well.
“I couldn’t see nothing … and yeah we rolled down the hill.”
Damien Brennan was ejected from the vehicle and his brother ran more than a kilometre to a nearby dairy farm to raise the alarm.