Ambo weeps as virus delays trial for seven months

SA Ambulance Service officer Matthew James McLean, right, with no jacket, outside the District Court after his trial was vacated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: Sean Fewster

SA Ambulance Provider officer Matthew James McLean openly wept in the dock on Tuesday as Decide Sophie David vacated his scheduled District Court docket demo.

She reported that, when the court docket had banned new jury trials right until May well 1, the current demo routine intended McLean’s case could not be read right until September at the earliest.

There was, even so, far more grief to appear for the alleged killer driver – neither his individual defence counsel, nor prosecutors, were being offered right until mid-Oct, necessitating a further more 7-month delay.

McLean cried yet again, and place his head in his hands, as the arrangements were being manufactured.

Outdoors court docket, Ambulance Workers Association president Phil Palmer reported the new delay had additional to the toll on McLean and his relatives.

“Matthew feels like he has had a four-12 months sentence presently, ready for this demo … this is extremely, extremely hard for his relatives and his four young kids who, every working day, stress regardless of whether their father is likely to jail,” he reported.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has adjusted issues, all our life have been disrupted and we are not blaming anyone – but it’s extremely regrettable that it’s having this long.

“It’s been almost four a long time … he’s extremely distressed.”

McLean, 42, has pleaded not responsible to causing the loss of life of Karen Biddell, forty eight, by unsafe driving at Virginia on August sixteen, 2016.

Formerly, prosecutors have alleged he was behind the wheel of a $240,000 bariatric vehicle – a expert ambulance made and outfitted to carry obese individuals – when it crashed.

They have further more alleged Ms Biddell’s sixteen-12 months-aged daughter also endured injuries in the crash.

If convicted, McLean faces a highest fifteen-12 months jail expression.

McLean’s demo was scheduled to commence on Monday, even so Decide David gave him and his counsel time to decide regardless of whether or not they would proceed without having a jury or hold out right until immediately after the COVID-19 countermeasures had concluded.

On Tuesday, Stephen Apps, for McLean, reported his shopper had appear to a decision.

“I’ve taken directions and my shopper would nonetheless desire to have a demo with a judge and a jury,” he reported.

Noting McLean’s tears, Decide David reported she wished to be specified.

“He seems a minimal distressed,” she reported.

Mr Apps replied: “yes, he’s distressed all the time about this make any difference.”

Decide David remanded McLean on continuing bail right until Oct.

Outdoors court docket, Mr Palmer reported the association would go on spending McLean’s lawful fees and “maintained Matthew’s innocence”.

He reported that, considering the fact that the charges were being laid, McLean had been “off the road” and endeavor alternate duties in SA Ambulance workplaces.

“That’s been demoralising for Matthew since he enjoys individual treatment, which is why he chose it as his vocation,” he reported.

“Helping persons is what he enjoys to do, but he has this sword of a achievable fifteen-12 months jail expression hanging in excess of his head.”