Daylesford pub safety questioned

Vikas Sharma, bother of Pratibha Sharma (left) breaks down in tears outside the Coroner's Court. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Emily Woods, AAP

The grief-stricken family of a woman and child, among five people killed in a car-crash tragedy, have questioned why a pub allowed their loved ones to sit outside.

A coronial investigation has begun into the crash this month where a BMW SUV mounted the kerb and hit 10 patrons seated outside the Royal Daylesford Hotel in regional Victoria.

About 6pm on November 5, the BMW was travelling on Albert Street, towards the Midland Highway intersection, in Daylesford.

It reached the bottom of the hill, mounted a kerb and hit wooden tables outside the pub.

Police are yet to decide whether they will charge the 66-year-old driver, as they continue to investigate if his diabetes was a factor in the incident.

The five victims included two children and another five were injured.

The family of victims Pratibha Sharma, 44, and her daughter Anvi, 9, attended the Coroner’s Court in Melbourne on Wednesday for a hearing.

Ms Sharma’s partner, Jatin Kumar, 30, and their friend Vivek Bhatia, 38 and his son Vihaan, 11, also died in the incident.

Outside court, Ms Sharma’s brother Vikas questioned why the hotel would allow people to sit outside, in a high-traffic area, if it was not safe.

“There’s no bollard there, no fence, nothing. If they cannot make it safe then why do they allow people to sit over there?” he said.

He asked why the man was allowed to drive if he had a medical condition.

“How was he driving? Why a doctor didn’t send a report to VicRoads, why the doctor allow him to drive?”

Coroner Katherine Lorenz will make recommendations to promote safety and the administration of justice.

Major Collisions Unit Detective Sergeant Peter Romanis was called to give an update to the court on the police investigation.

He said the driver, who was the only occupant of the car, was taken to Ballarat Hospital for treatment and interviewed by police, but he has been released pending further inquiries.

“A decision on whether charges will be laid has not yet been made,” Det Sgt Romanis said.

The coroner acknowledged the families of the victims in court.

“It has been a terrible loss for your families, your community and indeed for the community as a whole,” Ms Lorenz said.

“It’s a sad and tragic outcome of what was a very pleasant day out for those people.

“We’ll do our best to accommodate the families involved and make our proceedings as expeditious as possible.”

She adjourned the matter until police are ready to provide another update.