A truck driver who killed a mother and child at a Kingston collision in December 2019 was "distracted" by his GPS, unfamiliar with the road, and the truck's brakes were "sub-optimal", according to his defence lawyer.
At a County Court plea hearing on Monday, lawyers for Michael Brent Knowler acknowledged his guilty plea to three charges - two counts of dangerous driving causing death and one count of dangerous driving causing serious injury.
Knowler was driving a Kenworth prime mover on Church Parade towards his friend's home in Broomfield on December 29, 2019, when he allegedly failed to give way at the intersection and collided with a Toyota Rav4 causing it to flip.
He told police he checked his mobile phone's GPS before the intersection and it told him to continue straight.
Jess West, 37, and her five-year-old son Deighton died at the scene. Two other passengers, Anthony West and nine-year-old Oakley, received injuries.
Defence lawyer Christopher Pearson tendered expert reports noting the truck Knowler was driving had "sub-optimal brakes", which could lessen his moral culpability in the incident.
The report stated the truck had travelled from Western Australia to Melbourne without incident, but its brakes were "operating at about 71 per cent of capacities", Mr Pearson said, which could have affected stopping time.
He also tendered a report stating the intersection's "design, construction, configuration, and maintenance" was unsafe, which could also reduce Knowler's culpability.
"The intersection can best be described as 'chaotic'," Mr Pearson quoted from the report.
However, he conceded Knowler was distracted by his mobile phone, which was face-up on his dashboard.
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There has been a delay in sentencing Knowler while the report was prepared - Knowler has been in custody 203 days, almost seven months.
Judge George Georgiou said he would sentence Knowler at a later date.
In July, $456,000 was announced to 'improve intersection and approach safety at the Kingston Road at Church Parade intersection' at Kingston, the site of the accident, as part of federal government Black Spot funding.
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