A Metro train driver has no criminal case to answer over the death of a passenger who tried to board a moving train, after a magistrate dropped the charges against him.
Magistrate John Hardy told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday that the evidence against train driver Russell Dickson, 41, was of an insufficient strength for him to be convicted by a jury in a higher court.
Mr Dickson was accused of moving his train from Heyington Station, in Toorak, while knowing the doors were open as Mitchell Callaghan was trying to board.
Mr Callaghan, 18, died when he fell between the train and the platform when trying to board the rear carriage late on the night of February 22, 2014, while his friends on the train held open the doors.
The group were headed to Melbourne's White Night festival.
Mr Hardy accepted a submission by Mr Dickson's legal team that the charges be struck out, and dropped the charges of recklessly engaging in conduct that placed people in danger of death and recklessly engaging in conduct that placed people in danger of serious injury.
A magistrate has ruled that train driver Russell Dickson has no criminal case to answer over the death of a passenger. Photo: Eddie Jim
The magistrate said there was insufficient evidence to prove that Mr Dickson showed a "reckless disregard" by moving the train from the platform.
Mr Dickson's legal team had earlier on Friday urged Mr Hardy to strike out charges due to what they classed as a lack of evidence and flaws with the investigation by authorities.
Defence counsel Peter Morrissey, SC, said there was no evidence to suggest a blue warning light, which informs drivers that doors are open, flashed in Mr Dickson's cabin.
Mr Morrissey said the driver had announced to passengers to let the doors close, but was not aware they were open when the train left the platform. In an incident report filed later, the driver said he never saw anyone on the platform when the train began moving.
"Either he missed the flashing blue light or it was not flashing.
There is just no evidence about that," the lawyer said.
Mr Morrissey said a test to see what would happen if the doors were held open was never performed. The failure to replicate the actions of Mr Callaghan's friends was a major investigative flaw, he said.
The court heard police never tested the doors or directed Metro investigator Alan Scott to do so. Mr Scott did not have an investigative background, the court heard, and believed initially he was preparing a report for the coroner.
Instead, Mr Morrissey said, the prosecution was reliant on Mr Scott's report to press its case.
"It is the job of investigating police to investigate and that has not occurred," he said.
Prosecutor Kieran Gilligan said the doors on the train were "wide open" when the train left the platform, and that Mr Dickson should have seen this on camera monitors in his cabin.
Mr Gilligan said one witness had told the court the doors were open for a "dangerously long time" of 20 seconds.
There was no evidence to suggest the cameras, monitors or blue flashing light weren't working properly, he said.
Metro rules state drivers should never move their trains from a platform if doors are open — unless there are no passengers on board - and Mr Gilligan said Mr Dickson should have been mindful of the doors having made an earlier announcement and given he was driving on a busy Saturday night, when passengers were likely to have consumed alcohol.
The court heard Mr Dickson was about 15 minutes from finishing his shift.
Mr Morrissey described as "absolutely ludicrous" any suggestion the driver would endanger his passengers because he wanted to go home.
Mr Dickson had been a driver since 2012, the court heard, had been inspected 16 times without incident and there was no evidence he was under the effects of alcohol, drugs, fatigue at the time or was distracted by a mobile phone.
Mr Dickson has been suspended from work since the incident.
A defence application for costs will be heard at a later date. The matter could yet be investigated by a coroner.