Australian man wrongly imprisoned for 12 years killed in a ‘hit-and-run’ in LA

The Hollywood tragedy involving Australian man Andrew Mallard and promising young Los Angeles basketballer Kristopher Ryan Smith is set to be resolved with a plea deal in a Californian court next month.

US authorities allege 20-year-old Smith was the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed Mr Mallard as the Australian was walking across Sunset Boulevard about 1:30 am on April 18 (local time).

Smith allegedly kept driving.

"We are working on a resolution," prosecutor Kristopher Gay told Superior Court Judge Deborah Brazil in a downtown LA courtroom on Wednesday. "We are very confident of that."

Mr Gay said he will be reaching out to Mr Mallard's family in Perth to discuss the potential plea deal and restitution.

The plea deal could be announced at a hearing on November 15.

Andrew Mallard (pictured) was wrongly imprisoned for 12 years for the 1994 death of Pamela Lawrence. Source: Getty

Mr Mallard's death was the final tragic chapter of his life.

His life story was well known in Australia after he was wrongly imprisoned for 12 years for the 1994 death of Perth jeweller Pamela Lawrence.

The 56-year-old's conviction was quashed by the High Court in 2005, he received a 3.25 million ex-gratia payment and was attempting to move on with his life in LA.

He visited a Sunset Boulevard bottle shop to buy cigarettes in the early hours of April 18 and security footage showed him walking across a dark portion of the iconic Hollywood thoroughfare.

He was not walking across a pedestrian crossing or an intersection with traffic lights.

The security footage showed a silver sedan striking Mr Mallard. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Smith, a former star Inglewood High School shooting guard, surrendered to the LAPD's Hollywood division five days later.

He was charged with one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury and one misdemeanour count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Smith claimed in a TV interview on April 25 he did not see Mr Mallard as he walked across Sunset Blvd.

"I panicked," Smith told LA TV station CBS2. "I just went home to my mum".

Smith's lawyer said his client had been out to dinner with friends on the night of the incident, but had not been drinking.

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