Garbo Who Ran Over Homeless Man Thought He Was ‘Pile Of Blankets'

A garbage truck driver who ran over a man sleeping on a mattress in a Sydney lane claims he wasn't driving negligently and he thought it was only blankets.

Ian Juurik, 36, has been charged with negligent driving causing the death of Mathew Hayne, 31, on Bourke Lane in Redfern, Sydney, shortly before 8am on May 21, 2018.

A further charge of dangerous driving causing death was withdrawn in December.

"He saw what he thought was a blanket or a quilt but it was, in fact, a foam mattress with the deceased contained within it," crown prosecutor Melanie O'Connell said at Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday.

"He was further negligent by driving over that item in the garbage truck ... without checking whether it was safe to do so."

Photo: Getty

The Crown alleges Juurik did not keep a proper lookout and did not take the reasonable care expected from the "ordinary, prudent driver" in the circumstances, O'Connell said.

Juurik's lawyer, Benjamin Goh, said the issue was whether magistrate Jennifer Giles would be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Juurik was negligent "when he decided to drive over what he thought was just a pile of blankets".

The magistrate asked: "It just hinges on - is this negligent?"

"Yes, your honour," the parties replied.

Mel Hayne, mother of Mathew Hayne, outside the Downing Centre Local Court. Photo: AAP

Hayne was captured in footage taken from another truck that drove down the lane earlier that morning.

Two of Juurik's City of Sydney colleagues are among five witnesses set to testify.

The victim's mother, Melissa Hayne, was in the public gallery on Tuesday. The hearing continues.