Garbo in court over fatal three-point turn

A garbage truck driver whose "hammerhead" manoeuvre caused the death of an elderly Sydney woman has denied claims he drove dangerously.

Christopher Shane Raymond Sultana was charged after then 83-year-old Ruiming Zhang was run over in Chester Hill at 8.30am on February 23, 2021.

The now 34-year-old had been collecting bins along Woodland Road and executed a three-point turn, known colloquially as a "hammerhead", at the T-intersection with Gurney Road so he could turn around and collect the bins on the other side of Woodland.

At a Downing Centre District Court trial on Monday, Sultana watched emotionless as graphic CCTV footage was played showing Ms Zhang stop on the corner of Gurney and Woodland next to the white Volvo truck before crossing and being dragged under the vehicle after it turned.

She suffered catastrophic head injuries in the accident.

"The initial impact knocked her to the ground. She was then run over by both sets of wheels of the truck. That's what caused her death," prosecutor Ken Gilson said.

The Campbelltown man began working for waste management firm JJ Richard & Sons four weeks before the incident and had driven the truck unsupervised for two days.

In the judge-alone trial before Judge Sophia Beckett, Sultana is facing one charge of dangerous driving occasioning death. He has pleaded not guilty.

He also faces three related charges of negligent driving, disobeying a no right turn sign, and not giving way to a pedestrian.

The Crown argues the hammerhead manoeuvre was a serious breach of the proper management of a vehicle that created a real danger to others.

Alleged areas of concern include his decision to move into the wrong lane, a failure to turn on his right indicator and a failure to activate the right-hand vehicle camera to check for pedestrians.

In a police interview after the accident, Sultana admitted he had not seen Ms Zhang before the impact and described the moment as "pretty much the worst day of (his) life".

"We're humans, we make errors and I try the best I can every day but it's quite a full-on role and 99.99 per cent of the time nothing ever happens."

He asked police if he could send a letter or flowers to Ms Zhang's family.

Defence barrister Phillip Boulten SC denied the manner in which Sultana had operated the truck was dangerous.

"Could the accused have seen the deceased at an earlier point in time and not executed the turn? Perhaps. Should he have? Maybe, maybe not," Mr Boulten told the court.

"If maybe, then any such failure we say is not more than negligence and certainly not the form of serious breach of driving that is required to be proved in a case under this provision."

While executing the turn, Sultana's hazard lights were flashing. The truck also emitted a loud warning sound as it reversed.

The accident occurred in seconds as Ms Zhang stepped out without looking to the left and seemed to make an assumption about what the truck would do, Mr Boulten said.

"It is highly likely that throughout most if not all of the turn, the pedestrian and the truck were sort of mirroring each other so that the pedestrian never left the blind spot," the barrister said.

The driver had made the hammerhead turn often and had been advised by supervisors to continue doing so, the court heard.

It would have been too dangerous for Sultana to manually flip between different cameras on his vehicle to check for pedestrians, Mr Boulten said.

Reversing onto the wrong side of the road was also safer, the barrister argued, as it reduced the chance other vehicles would try overtaking as the truck made the turn.

The trial continues on Tuesday.