A Sydney highway patrol officer, whose police car smashed into a vehicle driven by the matriarch of a prominent racehorse family, has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving.
But the family of Gai Viera, who is slowly putting her body and mind back together in a Sydney hospital, has vowed to fight "as long as it takes" for justice.
Ms Vieira's Mercedes was struck in the side by the police Ford Falcon on September 5 last year at Cronulla.
The officer behind the wheel, Senior Constable Harry Thomas Little, was doing 124 kilometres per hour in a 70 zone without flashing lights or sirens, police later confirmed.
Little's lawyer, on his behalf, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm at Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday.
Members of the Vieira family, including Gai's husband Bert, sat together in the courtroom as deputy chief magistrate Michael Allen set the matter down for arraignment in the District Court on July 5.
Mr Vieira, speaking outside court, said his wife was still working to regain the use of her limbs.
"It's going to be a long time. My girl's going to be a while," he told reporters through tears.
"She'll come back when she's ready and I'm waiting."
The racing identity has campaigned for NSW Police to change the way they chase motorists since the crash that left his wife in a coma for months.
"I haven't given up. I'll fight this as long as it takes," he said.
"This has got to stop. Patrol cars are not allowed to run their own race."
He urged police Commissioner Mick Fuller to "man up" and investigate the way highway patrol officers conduct pursuits - or step aside.
Mr Vieira says he won't tell his wife about Little's plea, because he wants her to remain positive and focus on learning to move her limbs again.
"It's another blow to this family who has been to hell and back," he said.
Their three-year-old grandson, who was also in the car, is still struggling to process the incident and has nightmares, the family says.
Australian Associated Press