A Victorian driver accused of killing a firefighter during January’s devastating bushfires has been refused bail after telling police he would ‘disappear’.
Novak John Selby is charged with dangerous driving causing the death of Mathew Kavanagh, whose truck was hit by a car near Lake Eildon on January 3.
Prosecutors say Selby, 46, was driving on the wrong side of the road when he hit the passenger side of the vehicle, where Mr Kavanagh was sitting.
Novak John Selby is charged with dangerous driving causing the death of Mathew Kavanagh (pictured), whose truck was hit by a car near Lake Eildon on January 3
He and the driver, both Forest Fire Management Victoria firefighters, had been putting out fires in the Big River area and were headed to another fire zone.
It was revealed in a bail application that Selby had initially confronted the driver about being on the wrong side of the road.
This was disputed by witnesses including the fire truck driver, who said Selby’s red Toyota had come ‘directly towards him’.
Another witness also said they saw Selby cross to the wrong side, while prosecutors noted that evidence was also supported by investigations from two crash reconstruction experts.
Selby, who denies the allegations, wept as he was refused bail in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Detective Sergeant Mark Amos had said Selby appeared ‘genuinely upset’ about what had happened, but revealed plans to flee when interviewed.
Kavanagh (pictured with his wife Jude) was a married father-of-two
Magistrate Susan Wakeling accepted that he’d told officers he would not go to jail, and that he’d take his partner and young son and ‘go bush’ or to Thursday Island, where he had previously lived.
She said jail would be onerous for Selby because of the coronavirus health crisis and his diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, stemming from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
Selby had been living at Narbethong, near Marysville, when the bushfires ripped through the area.
‘It’s an unfortunate coincidence that this matter arises in circumstances of devastating Victorian bushfires,’ Ms Wakeling said.
But she wasn’t satisfied there was any way to reduce the risk of him fleeing, or that his partner would co-operate with police attempts to supervise him if he was released.
The potential length of delays related to coronavirus are unknown at this stage, she said.
‘There is no dispute there will be delays, but the nature of that delay is difficult to ascertain currently,’ she said.
Selby is due to face court again on April 28 for a committal mention, the magistrate said, noting concerns around delays could be revisited then if more is known.
Source: dailymail UK