Evidence conflict brings shock end to trial of Dubbo man Joshua Armstrong accused of dangerous driving in crash that killed mate Peter Murray at Wagga in 2015

THE TRIAL of a young man accused of causing the death of his mate by dangerous driving has been aborted on its second day before the tendering of any evidence.

A significant conflict between expected evidence to be given by a prosecution crash reconstruction expert and an expert engaged by the defence could not be resolved within a couple of days, Judge Jennifer English told a Wagga District Court jury before discharging them.

“That issue has to be resolved before the trial proceeds further,” Judge English said.

The jury of nine women and three men was to have sat in judgment of 20-year-old Joshua Armstrong.

Armstrong pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving occasioning the death of 18-year-old Peter Phillip Murray.

The pair were friends since primary school at Dubbo and were studying together at Charles Sturt University in Wagga.

In his opening address to the jury on Tuesday, Crown Prosecutor Paul Kerr said it was alleged Armstrong – a green P-plate driver – was driving a BMW sedan at up to 127 kilometres an hour in a 70km/h zone on Pine Gully Road before he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree about 2.30am on June 13, 2015, killing Mr Murray.

Mr Kerr said he expected a pharmacologist would give evidence Armstrong had a blood-alcohol reading of between .042 and .057 at the time of the crash.

In his opening address, defence counsel Les Nicholls said there was a substantial dispute about Armstrong’s speed.

Judge English expressed her regret about aborting the trial.

“I have been trying to do all I can to get the trial on because it’s the second anniversary of the accident,” Judge English told the jury.

The trial has been re-scheduled for a later date.

Mr Kerr on Tuesday described the fatal crash as a tragedy that had devastated two families.

The jury heard Mr Murray was the only passenger in the car and died at the scene, while Armstrong was injured.