The truck driver allegedly involved in the deaths of two people, one a child, following a collision near Kingston in December has been released from custody.
Michael Brent Knowler, 59, applied for bail at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Friday.
Known to friends as Brent, Knowler is charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death, one count of dangerous driving causing serious injury, and one count each of failing to give way and causing a collision that placed a person in danger of death and serious injury.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Clint Prebble told the court police opposed bail because they had concerns Knowler would flee Victoria.
Police informant Detective Acting Sergeant Cameron Merrett of the Major Collisions Investigation Unit said Knowler was driving a Kenworth prime mover on Church Parade towards his friend's home in Broomfield on December 29 2019.
The court heard Knowler was using a GPS on his phone to assist with directions. He told police he checked his mobile phone before the intersection and it told him to continue straight.
A Toyota Rav4 entered the intersection and police allege Knowler failed to give way, hitting the Rav4 and causing it to flip.
The court heard the force tore the bull bar from the prime mover and it stopped about 60 metres west of the intersection after Knowler gained control of the vehicle.
Detective Acting Sergeant Merrett said the driver of the car, Anthony West, was transported to hospital with minor injuries.
Jess West, 37, was seated in the passenger seat and their five-year-old son Deighton was in the rear passenger side seat.
Both died at the scene.
The court heard their nine-year-old son Oakley, who was seated in the rear drivers side seat, returned home from the Royal Children's Hospital this week.
He was transported from the scene by air ambulance with facial injuries.
A dog in the car also died at the scene.
Detective Acting Sergeant Merrett said he told police he had seen the yellow and black sign indicating the upcoming intersection 240 metres before.
The court heard Knowler told police he had seen the white line on the road at the intersection indicating he must give way, but did not see the give way sign.
Knowler told police he was not 'consciously looking' for it, as he had seen the white line.
Detective Acting Sergeant Merrett said Knowler told police he had slowed down at the intersection, looked left and saw no traffic, but he could not see to the right as trees obscured his view.
The court heard Knowler had only seen the Rav4 when he had entered the intersection.
Detective Acting Sergeant Merrett said Knowler lived in Western Australia with his step-son where he was employed as a truck driver.
The court heard Knowler was from New Zealand and had been living in Australia on a visa since 2008 and his partner lived in Thailand.
Detective Acting Sergeant Merrett said police had concerns that Knowler would flee Australia if granted bail, given he was born in New Zealand and had ties to Thailand.
"He told police he had anticipated taking up residence in Thailand in early 2020 at the time," he said.
Defence barrister Chris Pearson questioned Detective Acting Sergeant Merrett on the details of the accident site, stating an intention to test the strength of the prosecution case.
The court heard the truck Knowler was driving was 30-years-old, with no trailer attached and had large mirrors on either side.
"What I suggest is his vision of the intersection would have been obscured by the large mirrors of the truck, do you agree?" Mr Pearson said.
"I would argue he would be well used to driving the truck and he should get himself into the position knowing the vehicle where he can see," Detective Acting Sergeant Merrett said in response.
Mr Pearson told the court Knowler had stable and supervised accommodation available in Victoria with an ex-police officer if he was to be released on bail.
A defence witness, who was the friend Knowler was travelling to see on the day of the accident, testified Knowler could live at his home in Broomfield while on bail.
"The whole time I have known Brent (Knowler is known to friends as Brent) he has been a very straight, hard-working and entertaining person to be with," the witness said.
"He is honest and trustworthy and someone who does the best he can."
Knowler wore a black sweater on top of a shirt when he appeared in the dock at court and looked down, while slumped over at times, throughout the bail application proceedings.
Magistrate Ron Saines said it appeared the prosecution had an unassailable case that Knowler's driving caused the death of two people and injury to others.
He said the prosecution had a strong case the driving was dangerous, but this was not unassailable.
"There is a prospect of a jury finding a lack of dangerousness and instead a carelessness in his driving and he may avoid imprisonment. Although this may not be a likelihood, it is a possibility the court must consider," Ms Saines said.
"In having regard to the absence of prior history, his good character and what appears to be a collision involving short term error rather than long term willing criminality, this further has prospect of reducing the level of imprisonment to be imposed."
Mr Saines said he found compelling reasons were shown to grant Knowler bail, given the stable residence with supervision and the possibility of a non-custodial sentence.
He said he was satisfied the risk of flight could be reduced to an acceptable level with conditions he forfeit any passport and not leave Victoria.
Knowler was granted bail and will return to the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on April 30.
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