Officer who fled scene of crash wins appeal

An off-duty Illawarra policeman who ran from the scene after his car struck a parked vehicle has successfully appealed against the $1000 fine he received for failing to give his details to the owner of the other vehicle.

Highway patrol officer Senior Constable Paul McGarry, 44, was fined $1300 in total in Wollongong Local Court last month after pleading guilty to negligent driving and not giving particulars to the car's owner.

At the time the court heard McGarry's car ran into the rear of the silver Kia while he was driving along Corrimal Street about 2am on June 2.

Two witnesses told police they saw McGarry exit his car and walk away from the scene, later breaking into a run.

One witness said he appeared to be disoriented and it was later confirmed McGarry had hit his head on the windscreen during the accident.

When police questioned McGarry about the crash about 6.30am he denied he was the driver.

An hour later he fronted up to Wollongong police station and admitted he had been behind the wheel.

Wollongong District Court presiding judge Andrew Haesler yesterday concluded McGarry's decision to leave the scene could have stemmed from the head injury he received.

He said he could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that McGarry had deliberately left the scene in order to disguise any earlier drinking. Judge Haesler revoked the fine and instead imposed a conviction, but no further penalty.

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