DPP v Adams [2019] VCC 1408

Sentence summary: Culpable driving

A drink-driver who killed an elderly woman while excessively speeding was jailed for nine years and three months.

Bradley Shaun Adams, 45, pleaded guilty to one charge of culpable driving causing death and one charge of negligently causing serious injury following the crash, which occurred in Reservoir on August 4, 2017.

The offender was sentenced to nine years and three months prison with a non-parole period of seven years.

Maria Gaggiano was driving her 87-year-old mother Rachele Gaggiano home when the offender’s car smashed into her vehicle at 100km/h in a 60km/h zone.

The force of the collision killed the elder Ms Gaggiano and caused serious injuries to her daughter, while the offender’s car landed 40 metres away from the crash.

The offender’s blood alcohol level was more than double the legal limit and witnesses observed him drinking, slurring and stinking of alcohol following the crash.

In sentencing the offender, the presiding judge said the crimes were serious and had a “catastrophic” effect on the victims’ family.

The Court heard Maria Gaggiano suffered serious injuries requiring rehabilitation and mental health issues as a result of the crash.

She suffered chronic pain and had difficulty with normal tasks, such as gardening, using public transport and reading, according to her victim impact statement.

“(The offender was) behaving in a manner that might be described as an immature hoon, intoxicated, travelling at high speed, fishtailing down the road,” the judge said.

The offending was so severe that rehabilitation was considered secondary to the principles of punishment, deterrence, denunciation and community protection, the court heard.

It was noted that the offender’s plea of guilty, difficult childhood and low intellectual functioning were mitigating factors.

However, the offender’s significant criminal history, reckless alcohol consumption and the presence of his 18-year-old son in the vehicle were aggravating factors that warranted a longer prison sentence.

The judge disqualified the offender from driving for three years following his release from custody.

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Page last updated: 4 May 2020