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Judge reserves verdict in McGee case

News.com.au: Judge reserves verdict in McGee case

From: AAP February 24, 2010 5:21pm

A JUDGE has reserved his verdict in a trial of a prominent Adelaide lawyer and his brother facing conspiracy charges following a hit-and-run.

The trial, involving lawyer Eugene McGee and his brother Craig, closed in the South Australian District Court today with Judge Peter Herriman to deliver his verdict on a date to be fixed.

The brothers have both pleaded not guilty to conspiring to attempt to pervert the course of justice.

The charges relate to their actions after the lawyer hit and killed a cyclist in a road crash, north of Adelaide, in 2003.

McGee was fined $3100 for driving without due care.

He was not breath or blood-tested for alcohol following the crash, which killed cyclist Ian Humphrey.

His case was also the subject of a royal commission, which criticised police for their handling of the case and found their investigation was not undertaken appropriately, efficiently or expeditiously.

The royal commission recommended the brothers face the conspiracy charge and the McGees went to the High Court in an unsuccessful bid to have the count dropped.

During the District Court trial both Eugene and Craig McGee declined to give evidence in their defence, but counsel for Craig McGee said he had lied to police about not having a contact number for his brother, out of family loyalty.

Counsel for Eugene McGee said his actions on the day of the crash stemmed from the accumulated trauma he had witnessed during his work as a policeman and lawyer.

The prosecution had earlier told the court the brothers shared three bottles of white wine in the hours preceding the fatal hit-run.

They later drove through a police road block near the accident scene without Eugene McGee identifying himself as the driver of a car which hit and killed the cyclist in SA's Barossa Valley.

Prosecutor Emily Telfer said Eugene McGee was "determined to stay away from areas where he might be detected by police" in the hours after the crash.

She also told the court McGee knew of a law stating blood alcohol tests had to be taken within two hours after an accident to be legally relevant.