Australia Summernats death: Queensland man cleared of charges relating to death of Luke Newsome

06:06  16 april  2018
06:06  16 april  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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A jury clears a Queensland man of all charges relating to the death of 30-year-old Luke Newsome at Summernats last year — even one charge he admitted to.

A 33-year-old man has been charged with the death of a patron at Summernats earlier this year. The charge relates to an incident at the annual car festival in January, where Luke Newsome , 30, from Emerald in Queensland was killed after falling from the tray of a ute.

Mr Newsome died in hospital after falling off the accused's truck at Summernats.© Provided by ABC News Mr Newsome died in hospital after falling off the accused's truck at Summernats. Bundaberg man Alister Spong hugged his wife in a long embrace after a jury cleared him over the death of his friend at Canberra's Summernats Car festival last year.

Mr Spong, 33, was charged with culpable driving causing death in the ACT Supreme Court.

His friend Luke Newsome was travelling on the back of a 1942 utility truck with several others when he fell off, suffering fatal head injuries.

Mr Newsome died in hospital the next day.

Mr Spong had told the court he was attempting what is known as a "chirpee," or a short wheel spin, while driving in first gear on the cruise track at Summernats.

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Burning tyres, clouds of smoke and soot-covered revheads: Tragedy mars the start of Summernats Queensland man Luke Newsome died at Canberra Hospital on Friday afternoon Mr Newsome 's death is the first ever reported at the festival, running since 1988 hitting his head on the tray of a ute at high-octane motor show Summernats festival in Canberra.

Instead of spinning, the wheels bit the bitumen and the truck lurched forward, throwing Mr Newsome and another man to the ground.

Mr Spong told the court he was devastated by the death of his friend.

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Family and friends take to social media to pay tribute to Queenslander Luke Newsome who died after falling from the back of a ute at the Summernats car festival.

Family and friends have paid tribute to Queensland man Luke Newcombe, who is understood to have died after falling from a ute tray and hitting his head at the Summernats car festival in Canberra. The death is the first in the event's 29-year history. Luke Newsome and partner Caity Lye.

Prosecutor Margaret Jones told the jury there was no doubt Mr Spong was guilty of culpable driving.

She said there were five people on the back, and he was responsible for their safety.

"There was no warning and he did not look around to see where everyone was," she said.

"It was improper driving that put other people in harm's way and it had tragic consequences.

"It was not an accident. It was intentional and deliberate driving."

But Mr Spong's lawyer Steve Whybrow told the jury it was a momentary lapse.

"This is a man who was not driving like a ratbag," she said.

"He consciously tried to spin the wheels like he'd done many times before.

"It was not a risk from his perspective."

The jury retired on Friday and resumed this morning.

But after only fifteen minutes a verdict was reached.

Mr Spong walked free, after the jury also found him not guilty of an alternative charge of negligent driving causing death, even though he admitted to the charge.

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