Two dead after car hit men fighting on road, jury told

Andrew Franklin and his father-in-law were fighting a young chef in the middle of a dark coastal road when a car crashed into them, killing two of the men, a jury has been told.

Franklin, 36, has pleaded not guilty in Gosford District Court to the manslaughter of Cade Shiells, 26.

Mr Shiells and Franklin’s father-in-law, Kevin Stokes, were hit by the car driven by Damian Seaman on Wilfred Barrett Drive at North Entrance, just in front of the Lake Front Motel, about 12.04am on July 8, 2018.

Mr Shiells died instantly and Mr Stokes died 19 days later in hospital.

In his opening address to the jury on Tuesday, crown prosecutor Adam O’Connor asserted the assault by Franklin and Mr Stokes was a substantial cause of Mr Shiells’ death because it caused him to be run over.

Mr O’Connor said Mr Shiells had started a relationship a short time before his death with a woman who was living at the Lake Front Motel.

That woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been friends with Darren Wright, 47, who stayed in her spare room at the motel on occasions. She considered him to be like an uncle.

Mr Wright was close friends with Kevin Stokes, a former schoolmate, as well as Mr Stokes’ two children, Cameron and Melissa, who was in a relationship with Franklin.

About 11.27pm Mr Shiells and Mr Wright, who had fallen over and hit his death earlier in the night while intoxicated, became involved in an altercation. Mr Shiells punched Mr Wright’s head before the pair were separated.

Mr O’Connor said Mr Shiells then jumped from the motel room balcony and ran off.

At 11.29pm, Franklin, Kevin Stokes and his daughter Melissa arrived at the unit to check on Mr Wright.

Franklin and Mr Stokes found out Mr Shiells had assaulted their friend and became angry.

Mr Shiells soon after called a friend and told him, “Please help me bro. They’re going to get me. They’re going to kill me. I need help.”

When told Mr Shiells was coming back to the unit at 12.04am, Franklin and Mr Stokes ran down to the street. Franklin, who had six beers, six bourbons and a couple of cones of marijuana, took off his shirt when running down the stairs.

The prosecutor said a car’s headlights lit up the road where Mr Shiells looked to have his arms raised.

Mr O’Connor said another car driven by Mr Seaman then came around the corner and it appeared Franklin and his father-in-law were standing over Mr Shiells lying on his back.

Mr Seaman was unable to stop and ran over Mr Shiells before hitting Mr Stokes.

Mr Seaman later claimed he saw two or three people “lying or wrestling on the road” as he came around the corner.

The prosecutor said Franklin, who had skin off his knuckles on both hands, blood on his hands and a cut to his forehead, told police he and Mr Stokes did not touch Mr Shiells, just argued with him.

Defense barrister Garry Sundstrom said there was no evidence of any act by Franklin or Mr Stokes caused Mr Shiells to be lying on the road when he was struck by the car.

The woman who lived at the motel, the first witness to be called, said Franklin was drunk, angry and wanted to fight Mr Shiells because he was very close to Darren Wright.

She claimed Franklin kept saying “I’m going to bash this… kill this c***.”

The trial before Judge David Barrow continues.