Tasmania's director of public prosecutions (DPP) has pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing death by negligent driving.

Timothy James Ellis was charged after a crash in March that left Launceston woman Natalia Pearn, 27, dead.

Ellis, 58, entered the plea during his first court appearance on the charge.

He appeared in the Hobart Magistrates Court with his exposed left leg in a wire brace and with two crutches.

He suffered a broken leg in the accident, which occurred on the state's major road, the Midland Highway.

Court documents show police will allege he failed to exercise enough care to prevent his Mercedes from crossing onto the wrong side of the highway.

Chief Magistrate Michael Hill said his Tasmanian colleagues had disqualified themselves from hearing the DPP's case and an interstate magistrate would be appointed.

He said he had a "personal difficulty" with the matter and was troubled by the issue of public confidence in the system should the case be heard by a local.

But Ellis's defence lawyer Michael O'Farrell SC said he had a "fundamental objection" to the appointment of an interstate magistrate.

Mr O'Farrell said due process had not been followed because Tasmanian magistrates had disqualified themselves in Ellis's absence and without giving their reasons.

He said he could identify five local magistrates who would have no issue with hearing the case.

Chief Magistrate Hill adjourned the matter to allow the issue to be settled between the defence and prosecution.

Ellis will not be required to appear when the case returns to the court on November 11.

He left the court without comment.

 

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