KENNETH Wayne Grant, the father of former NSW Police Minister Troy Grant, has been found guilty of causing a fatal hit-and-run and leading police on a pursuit while twice the legal limit, with a judge rejecting claims he was sleepwalking at the time of the crash.
Ken Grant, now 72, a retired police officer, had claimed he was in a somnambulistic state and was not driving voluntarily when he hit and killed scientist Tony Greenfield at Bolwarra on November 30, 2019.
He had pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death, failing to stop and assist after impact causing death and police pursuit and faced a judge-alone trial in Newcastle District Court.
The pair had been at the same Christmas party and Mr Greenfield was walking the short distance to his accommodation about 11.25pm when he was struck from behind and killed on Flat Road.
Ken Grant, who witnesses at the party described as being "hammered" and "extremely intoxicated", did not stop after the crash and instead sped away, veering left and right across the road and mounting a median strip.
A short time later, he led police on a pursuit along Belmore Road at Lorn despite driving with two flat tyres.
"My son is Troy Grant, the police minister," Ken Grant immediately told police after he finally pulled his car over. "And I am pissed."
A breath test revealed Ken Grant had a blood alcohol reading of 0.108 and in interviews with police he claimed to have no knowledge of the fatal hit-and-run on Flat Road.
During the trial, Ken Grant's defence claimed he had a history of sleepwalking, which involved "very complex motor skills", and could have been in a somnambulistic state at the time of the fatal hit-and-run.
But during his closing address, Crown prosecutor Lee Carr, SC, pointed Judge John Hatzistergos to the evidence of an expert who said it would have been an "extremely unusual occurrence" for Ken Grant to be sleepwalking at his age.
"There is just no evidence of sleep apart from this observation of "nodding off"," Mr Carr said, referring to a statement from someone at the Christmas party. "Which is then elevated to the status of sleep and remains continuous for a period of time, long enough for [deep sleep] to commence and then go into this somnambulistic state. "And that is against a background of nothing of any such nature being reported for more than a decade and it being an extremely rare event to occur in somebody of that particular age."
And, during a judgement on Friday afternoon, Judge Hatzistergos agreed, finding that any evidence Ken Grant had fallen asleep before the hit-and-run was "scant".
And, it followed, he said, that on the medical evidence there was "no reasonable possibility" that Ken Grant was sleepwalking at the time of the collision.
Ken Grant, who watched the judgement via AVL from his solicitor's office in Newcastle, will face a sentence hearing next year.
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