Pub crash driver freed on bail with $250k condition

A driver accused of killing five people by crashing into a pub beer garden after allegedly ignoring alerts about his low glucose levels has been freed on bail with a $250,000 surety and a condition he not drive.

William Swale, 66, was charged with culpable driving causing death, negligently causing serious injury and reckless conduct endangering lives over the November 5 crash.

Swale's SUV mounted the kerb and hit several patrons seated on the front lawn of the Royal Daylesford Hotel just after 6pm.

Pratibha Sharma, 44, her daughter Anvi, 9, and partner Jatin Kumar, 30, and their friend Vivek Bhatia, 38, and his son Vihaan, 11, all died.

Prosecutors took a neutral position on Swale's application for bail, telling the court the Mount Macedon man had been returning from a clay shooting tournament in Clunes when he stopped in Daylesford.

Swale, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 1994, was wearing a blood glucose monitoring device which sends an alert to his phone when his glucose levels are outside the normal range.

It is alleged the 66-year-old retiree scanned his blood glucose levels at 5.17pm on the day which returned a low reading and an alarm sounded one minute later indicating he should check his levels. 

CCTV footage showed him entering a restaurant opposite the pub a few minutes later asking for a table but he returned to his car as there were none available, Sergeant Peter Romanis told the court.

Swale was then seen on CCTV at 5.42pm driving his car around the area, performing a U-turn to drive down another street, before it crashed into the pub patrons about 6pm.

Prosecutors alleged he received and ignored nine alerts in the lead-up.

Swale's barrister Dermot Dann told Magistrate Brett Sonnet there were more than a dozen compelling reasons supporting Swale's release on bail.

Among them were Swale's lack of criminal history, his family support, the lack of risk alleged by police, and his vulnerability in custody because of his medical condition and publicity surrounding the case.

Mr Dann said there had never been a case like this one, prosecuted on the basis of a person's blood glucose levels.

A medical report from Swale's endocrinologist described him as an excellent patient who he saw three to four times a year, and who had missed just one appointment in 29 years.

He said Swale had, until now, avoided severe hypoglycaemia.

Mr Sonnet described the case as akin to someone driving while fatigued, and said he had formed the opposite view about its strength.

He also pointed out Swale had received a significant number of traffic tickets, but Mr Dann said the most serious was a one-month loss of licence in a 40-year driving career.

Swale was granted bail on conditions including that he not drive and that a $250,000 surety be made available to ensure his attendance at the next court hearing.

He's due to face Ballarat Magistrates Court for a case conference on April 18, 2024.

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store