Charges dropped against Canberra woman involved in hit-and-run atop Mount Ainslie

A Canberra woman who was involved in a hit-and-run on Mount Ainslie last year has had her charges dismissed in the ACT Magistrates Court, after a mental health report.

ACT Policing spent five months investigating the hit-and-run before identifying the woman whose name has now been suppressed.

She was initially charged with negligent driving and failing to stop and help the victim.

Police were mystified when the man was found lying on the road in a critical condition in June last year and no-one came forward.

He was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital where he remained in a critical condition for several days.

Paint markings on a road.
Police markings on the road at the top of Mount Ainslie, where a man was critically injured when a car struck him on June 3, 2021.(ABC News)

In a recent hearing, the court heard the woman and her friend had been driving near the Mount Ainslie lookout late at night when the man came out of the dark and bashed aggressively on the car window.

The woman said she thought she had run over his feet as she drove away.

Paint markings on a road.
The man was in hospital in a critical condition for several days after being struck by the car.(ABC News)

The charge of negligent driving was dismissed, but today she was to be sentenced for failing to stop and render assistance.

Instead, her lawyers lodged a mental health report and called for the charge to be dropped.

Prosecutors did not argue with the contents of the report but suggested the court should balance that against the seriousness of the crime in circumstances in which they argued she should have stopped.

But Magistrate James Stewart disagreed.

ACT coat of arms on Magistrates Court building
Magistrate James Stewart favoured the defence argument that the woman was suffering serious mental illness. (ABC News: Donal Sheil)

Woman told to work on mental health 

“For a person her age, she is labouring under significant mental health issues,” Magistrate Stewart said.

He acknowledged the crime but said the woman needed treatment rather than punishment.

“She’s not an ongoing risk to the community,” he said.

He dismissed the final charge and addressed the woman directly.

“You’ve got a tough road ahead of you,” Magistrate Stewart said.

“There’s no reason you cannot have a long and happy life but you need to get help.

“Take care of yourself.”

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