A jury of seven women and five men have retired to consider their verdicts in the dangerous driving case surrounding the death of a Berkeley couple in a fiery crash on the M1 Motorway last year.
Taree man Graham Squires is on trial in Wollongong District Court this week accused of causing the deaths of John Cerezo and Catherine Camilleri, who died when their Mitsubishi Pajero became wedged between two trucks on the afternoon of June 28 and burst into flames.
The Crown alleges Squires drove dangerously when his Ford Territory merged too closely in front of a Mack truck near the Mt Keira Road overpass, causing the truck to clip the back of the Territory and push it into a concrete barrier as the larger vehicle ground to a halt.
Meanwhile, Mr Cerezo's Pajero hit the back of the Mack truck and was then in turn hit from behind by an Isuzu truck.
Both the Pajero and the Isuzu caught fire. The driver of the Isuzu managed to escape the inferno but Mr Cerezo and Ms Camilleri perished in the blaze.
In closing submissions on Wednesday, defence barrister Luke Brasch urged jurors to find Squires not guilty on both counts of dangerous driving occasioning death.
He suggested there may have been "misjudgement" on his client's behalf that day, but that his conduct behind the wheel did not rise to the level of dangerous, as defined by the law.
"[Squires] had pulled away in front of the Mack truck, then he made an assessment, he looked and he indicated," Mr Brasch said, leading jurors through the moments before Squires merged his vehicle, which were captured on dashcam footage from inside the Mack trucl.
"You see him looking, he turns his head to the right, he's taking a look to see what's around.
"He's doing what you might think a prudent driver would do.
"He assessed the situation, he believed it was safe [to merge]."
Mr Brasch suggested the dashcam footage showed the distance between the Mack truck and Squires' vehicle "close quite suddenly" moments before the merge, which he said "deprived Mr Squires of the expectation he could move safely into that lane".
"He had an honest and reasonable belief it was safe to merge - it was only because of that gap [between the truck and the car] closing immediately and suddenly that that changed."
However, Crown prosecutor David Scully suggested the same footage clearly showed that there wasn't adequate room for Squires' vehicle to merge in front of the Mack truck safely.
"The Crown says the accused's version...was just wrong when you have regard to the dashcam footage," he said.
Jurors retired just before 3.30pm to begin their deliberations but had not yet reached the required unanimous agreement by 4pm and were subsequently released for the day.
They will return on Thursday morning to continue their deliberations.