How multimillionaire real estate tycoon and Daylesford pub crash driver faces a massive blow to his wealth if found guilty

How multimillionaire real estate tycoon and Daylesford pub crash driver faces a massive blow to his wealth if found guilty

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A real estate tycoon caught up in a horror crash that killed five people and injured seven others faces a huge blow to his finances if found guilty and alleged victims file a civil suit against him.

Diabetic Bill Swale, 66, is accused of ignoring repeated alerts to treat his low glucose levels for more than 50 minutes before his car ploughed into families outside the Royal Daylesford Hotel on November 5.

He was released back into the community on bail on Friday where he was expected to retreat to the serene surroundings of his Mount Macedon compound. 

Bill Swale, 66, allegedly ran his car through a group of diners in what his barrister claims was a 'tragic accident'

Bill Swale, 66, allegedly ran his car through a group of diners in what his barrister claims was a ‘tragic accident’

On Monday, Swale was charged with five counts of culpable driving causing death, two counts of negligently causing serious injury and seven counts of reckless conduct endangering life. 

He was taken into custody and locked up initially in the cells at the Melbourne West Police Station before being moved to the dreaded Melbourne Assessment Prison. 

While Swale was represented by lawyer Martin Amad on Monday during his initial bail hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, high-profile criminal barrister Dermot Dann, KC, had taken over his defence by Friday morning. 

Mr Dann is regarded as one of the best criminal defenders in the country and the man responsible for clearing the name of once-convicted killer Katia Pyliotis. 

He is also currently defending former Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn, who is accused of killing secret lover campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay. 

Mr Dann’s legal bill is likely to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars should the matter proceed to a County Court trial as expected. 

It is understood Mr Dann is often paid sums just under $7,000 a day for a County Court appearance.

But win or lose Swale faces civil action by the survivors and families of those who died in the devastating crash.

High-profile criminal lawyer of George Balot, Balot Reilly Criminal Lawyers, said the right to bring civil proceedings is unaffected by the ongoing criminal proceedings.

‘It does not take away from, or affects, the right of any person to recover damages for any expense or other matter so far as it is not satisfied by payment or recovery of compensation,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

Bill Swale earned his fortune developing software for big business 

One of the Swale mansions he sold for an estimated $3million-plus

One of the Swale mansions he sold for an estimated $3million-plus

Mr Balot said criminal proceedings for culpable driving often take more than 18 months to two years to reach trial in the County Court of Victoria.

‘Contesting a criminal trial is an expensive process when briefing a King’s Counsel,’ he said. 

‘A basic estimate of the cost of a King’s Counsel for a one-week committal hearing at the magistrates’ court where the evidence is tested by the defence in addition to 10 to 12 days of a contested trial, excluding solicitors’ costs, would be in excess of $150,000.’

Mr Balot said the tragic deaths and injuries were also likely to be subject to enormous TAC (Transport Accident Commission) claims, which is funded by registration premiums imposed on Victorian motorists.

‘In so far as property damage is concerned, third party insurance cover will pay for loss and damage to property, If (Swale) doesn’t have it he will pay a hefty price for property loss,’ Mr Balot said. 

Daily Mail Australia revealed on Tuesday that Swale had lived a carefree life among the picturesque trees of the Macedon Ranges for years. 

Situated less than an hour from Melbourne, the region is known for its stunning backcountry vistas, undulating landscapes, breathtaking heritage gardens and cool-climate wineries and artisanal gins.

Swale and his wife, Thea, had been buying and selling multi-million dollar properties in and around the region for years. 

This Woodend property featured in a television program

This Woodend property featured in a television program 

In November the couple sold a home titled Tower House in Kyneton for an estimated $3million, and just years earlier offloaded another $3million-plus property named Grayton House in Woodend.

Swale appeared on Channel Seven travel show A Moveable Feast in 2017 where he showed off the Grayton property to radio host Ross Stevenson and co-host Kate Stevenson.

Swale has been a member of the Cobaw Sporting Club – a Macedon Ranges shooting club where hunters embark on escapes akin to those of British lords.

Social media images show members arriving at hunts in limousines and posing with dead birds while draped in the finest of British hunting gear.

The Director of Public Prosecutions could also restrain his ability to sell his property unless he is acquitted of the charges. 

‘In Victoria the Office of Public Prosecutions can apply under the Confiscation Act 1997 to restrain any property owned by an offender to satisfy any compensation order that might be made under Sentencing Act 1991 Part 4,’ Mr Balot said. 

‘If restrained, the offender will be unable to deal with or dispose of the property until either they are acquitted of the charges, or if found guilty, the compensation application is determined.’ 

On Friday, Swale appeared in prison greens from the Melbourne Assessment Prison. 

The prison is known among the criminal fraternity as a ‘hell hole’ where inmates go to await trial. 

Swale spent five days behind bars before being released on Friday afternoon. 

This Kyneton property was sold by Swale in March this year

This Kyneton property was sold by Swale in March this year 

The Woodend property sold by the Swale family

The Woodend property sold by the Swale family 

Before his release, the court heard fresh details about how the New Zealand-born Swale earned his fortune. 

Mr Dann said Swale migrated to Australia in 1979 when he was aged 22 after completing a Bachelor of Science degree. 

Upon arriving in Australia, Swale got a job selling photocopiers before making the leap into the information technology industry. 

The court heard Swale created software for the medical industry, supporting doctors’ clinics and hospitals for a decade. 

His next job saw him work as an accounts manager with a software company that provided for banks, including the NAB and a number of New Zealand institutions. 

After 15 years in that role he progressed to yet another IT company which specialised in servicing energy companies.

‘We say he’s got a very good work record. He’s been very successful,’ Mr Dann told the court.

At the time of the Daylesford crash, Swale had been enjoying his retirement among the hills of Mount Macedon. 

Swale had been returning from a clay shooting tournament in Clunes when he stopped in Daylesford on the day of the crash.

Bill Swale (left) appeared on a television program that showcased his wealth

Bill Swale (left) appeared on a television program that showcased his wealth 

The court heard despite Swale’s life of luxury, he had repeatedly flouted the law in his adopted country. 

Mr Dann conceded Swale had a lengthy history of speeding offences, including 32 fines and a one-month licence suspension 34 years ago. 

In arguing for Swale’s release on bail, Mr Dann boasted his client’s family could deliver a half-a-million dollar surety. 

But when Magistrate Brett Sonnett asked Swale’s wife to pony-up the cash, Mr Dann’s offsider changed his tune. 

‘It’s not urged on your honour by either side,’ Mr Amad said. 

‘The only thing I can say about that is there is no allegation (he’ll flee the country).’

When Mr Sonnett pushed the point, Mr Amad said Swale’s wife would struggle to get the money. 

‘Would your honour consider $200,000?’ Mr Amad asked. 

‘$250,000,’ Mr Sonnett replied.

‘Deal,’ came the answer.

Swale will return to court in April next year. 

Dermot Dann, KC took over the bail application for Swale on Friday

Dermot Dann, KC took over the bail application for Swale on Friday 

High profile criminal lawyer George Balot, of Balot Reilly Criminal Lawyers, believes victims could target Swale's wealth

High profile criminal lawyer George Balot, of Balot Reilly Criminal Lawyers, believes victims could target Swale’s wealth 

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