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26 June, 2020

Coroner finds driver responsible for Ravenshoe cafe explosion was unfit to drive.

In 2015 a man crashed his ute into a café in Ravenshoe starting off a chain of events that would have deadly consequence.

By Phil Brandel

In 2015 a man crashed his ute into the back of a café in Ravenshoe starting off a chain of events that would have deadly consequences.

Brian Scutt, then 60, was behind the wheel when he suffered a seizure with his ute ploughing into the rear of the Serves You Right Cafe on Grigg Street, Ravenshoe, hitting gas bottles which ignited a huge explosion.

At the time The Queensland Ambulance Service treated 21 patients, 20 of whom were taken to hospital.

Eleven patients were driven to Atherton Hospital, three went to Innisfail Hospital, while the remaining six patients were airlifted to Cairns and Townsville hospitals.

Nicole Nyholt and Margaret Clark were later announced deceased.

Earlier this year a coroner’s inquest into the cause of the explosion took place at Ravenshoe and Cairns.

Today the findings were handed down with Coroner Nerida Wilson finding that Mr Scutt was medically unfit to hold a drivers licence and should not have been driving.

Both Mr Scutt and his GP, Dr Ken Connolly, could not give evidence as both men died before the start of the inquest.

The Coroner found that Mr Scutt had suffered at least three seizures in the decade leading up to the crash, but had not properly disclosed his condition to Dr Connolly.

He also failed to disclose that other medical professionals had advised him not to drive.

Despite Mr Scutt's failure to disclose, Dr Connolly became aware in 2014 that his patient had suffered seizures through information provided in medical notes.

Ms Wilson said there was no evidence Dr Connolly discussed Mr Scutt's condition with him.

She said Dr Connolly did not fulfil his professional duty to notify the Department of Transport.

"If Dr Connolly did make enquires with Mr Scutt, he did not make notes of these, which is also poor practice," she said.


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