Crash victim Narelle Dobinson.
Crash victim Narelle Dobinson.

US navy officer faces Aus court

A US navy officer involved in a collision with Ipswich cyclist Narelle Dobinson will be sent home to face charges relating to her death.

Mrs Dobinson died a week after the bike she was riding and a car collided at an intersection at Willowbank on July 24.

James Eric Linabury appeared in Ipswich Magistrates Court yesterday after he was charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the decision to press charges was a matter for the Queensland police but jurisdiction over US military forces while in Australia was governed by an agreement between Australia and the US.

“I have taken advice on a range of legal considerations to ensure this issue can be resolved in accordance with the due process of law and Australia’s international obligations,” Mr McClelland said.

Therefore, he said, he issued a certificate stating that the alleged offence occurred in the course of official duties and the court determined the US has primary right to exercise jurisdiction.

“I have been assured by the United States Government that the issue of criminal liability will be fully investigated. In particular, I have been assured that if criminal wrongdoing is uncovered, the officer could face serious charges,” he said.

“This is a tragic incident and on behalf of the Australian Government I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mrs Dobinson.”

Ipswich police Inspector Keith McDonald said the Forensic Crash Unit was investigating the collision and its investigation was expected to form the major part of the US investigation.

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