NSW jury discharged in cop car chase case

The jury in Harry Little's case has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict.
The jury in Harry Little's case has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict.

The jury deciding the fate of a Sydney highway patrol officer accused of causing serious injury in a crash has been discharged after being unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

The NSW District Court jury had not yet been deliberating for eight hours and was not eligible to reach a majority verdict where 11 out of the 12 jurors are only required to agree.

Judge Sarah Huggett on Friday said the fourth jury note mentioned the process had been "courteous, open and respectful" after deliberations started on Thursday.

But no juror was willing to change their mind, or was yet undecided, she said.

Judge Huggett formally discharged them after the jury foreman said it was unlikely they would reach a verdict together.

Senior Constable Harry Thomas Little had pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm after his car slammed into a grandmother's causing her serious brain damage.

Crown prosecutor Carl Young asked the jury to find the officer guilty saying his recollection of events surrounding the crash in September 2018 was demonstrably wrong.

Little reached a maximum speed of 135km/h in the 70-zone before applying his brakes when 68-year-old Gai Vieira pulled out in her Mercedes and appeared to stop.

The Crown had argued there were plenty of pedestrians and moderate traffic about Cronulla's six-lane Kingsway in all directions that day and Little should have been keeping a better lookout ahead.

No witnesses observed him indicating at any point and one driver only became aware of the police car when she heard a "whoosh" past her window.

Little testified that he waited until after passing around an L-plater to activate his police lights so as to avoid causing erratic behaviour.

But straight after the crash, Little told his supervisor Sergeant Grant Howell that he didn't have a chance to turn on his lights as the woman appeared right in front of him and it happened so quickly, Sgt Howell wrote in his statement two days following the incident.

Little's defence has rejected this admission.

Defence barrister Hament Dhanji SC told the jury in his closing address Little had no reason not to activate his police lights at the point he said he did, and that he honestly believed he had.

While driving in a fully marked police vehicle it was fair for the highway cop not to think someone would pull out in front of him across the roadway and then come to a complete stop straddling two lanes, he said.

Australian Associated Press