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Last Updated: Monday, 14 April, 2003, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Art critic admits crash guilt
Robert Hughes with his wrecked car
Hughes recovered after being in a coma for five weeks
Art critic Robert Hughes has admitted causing grievous bodily harm in a car crash that left him in a coma and three other men injured.

Hughes, 67, who writes for Time magazine, was in a coma for five weeks after crashing into another car on an outback road in Western Australia at night in 1999.

A Perth court fined him A$2,500 (960, $1,500) after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.

The wreck of the car in which he was travelling was put on display as a work of art in the Australian city in 2002.

Prosecutors said Hughes was driving on the wrong side of the road when the crash happened.

But he said he does not remember anything about the head-on accident 120 km (75 miles) south of Broome.

Hughes' wreckage was displayed as a work of art
The wreckage was displayed as a work of art
His lawyer, Mark Trowell, said there was no suggestion of excessive speed, alcohol or a selfish disregard for other road users, but Hughes made an error of judgment.

The charges had been dropped in 2000 but reinstated after an appeal by the department of public prosecutions.

Hughes had been due to give evidence to the court via a video link from New York, where he lives, but that was unnecessary after his guilty plea.

A lesser charge of dangerous driving causing bodily harm was dropped.

'Speculative'

Hughes was also disqualified from driving in Australia for three years.

Mr Trowell said the cause of the accident may never be known.

"Who knows, I mean the problem may be that he thought he was driving in America," he said, referring to the fact that the countries drive on different sides of the road.

"It may have been that he was dazzled by the lights of the approaching vehicle. Maybe there was something on the road. It tends to become speculative."

Artist Danius Kesminas moulded Hughes' wreckage into a box and put it on show at the Perth International Arts Festival.




SEE ALSO:
Arrest warrant for art critic Hughes
24 Apr 02  |  Entertainment
Critic's car crash made into art
31 Jan 02  |  Entertainment


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