Driver blew .101 after allegedly hitting and killing Black Hill pedestrian Patrick Bell

Nathan White
Nathan White

The driver accused of killing Black Hill pedestrian Patrick Bell was over the legal blood alcohol limit, a Ballarat jury has been told.

Nathan White, 36, returned a reading of 0.101 per cent at 1.37am on June 30, 2015 – about 90 minutes after the 17-year-old pedestrian was struck in Chisholm Street.

A police preliminary breath test shortly after the crash, at 12.20am, recorded a reading of 0.086, the jury was told.

A witness told the County Court jury he served White two schooners at 6pm on June 29, but White told police he was served one.

He told police he had two to three stubbies at a snooker centre and two mid-strength beers at a friend’s house, with his last drink consumed five minutes before the crash.

Forensic physician Dr Angela Sungaila, from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, told the jury her calculations on how many drinks White said he consumed did not correlate with the police readings.

Patrick Bell.

Patrick Bell.

“...So from that it’s highly likely that the amount of alcohol consumed was higher than Mr White remembers or reported,” Dr Sungaila said. 

She agreed with Crown prosecutor Patrick Bourke at the time the pedestrian was struck, White’s alcohol reading was no lower than 0.098 and no higher than 0.115.

Defence barrister Anthony Lavery said a preliminary breath test at 12.20am was done much closer to the crash than the evidentiary breath at 1.37am.

He said the preliminary breath test recorded a “reading of 0.086 on a device that has been manufactured for measuring blood alcohol”.

Dr Sungaila said White’s driving skills and abilities would have been impaired. 

“I think the adverse affects would have been significant and that he probably had quite a few impairments that would have diminished his control of his car, especially in an emergency situation,” she said.

White has pleaded not guilty to culpable driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

Patrick died in hospital.

The trial continues on Monday.