Sentence summary: Culpable driving
The offender was aged 17 at the time of the offence and had a learner permit. After a night drinking at a football club function and an after party, the offender took a friend’s car for a drive with two friends. He took the car without permission after having been warned not to drive. The offender nevertheless drove at high speed in thick fog without lights and with a blood alcohol level of 0.084 and the drug MDMA in his system. He failed to negotiate a bend and left the road. The car rolled several times. The rear seat passenger was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the car. He died as a result of his injuries.
The offender pleaded guilty to one count of culpable driving causing death.
The judge found that the offender’s early guilty plea, expressions of remorse, his youth and his good prospects of rehabilitation were all worthy of consideration. The judge also noted that the offender had no previous breaches of the law and came from a close and supportive family.
However the judge also found that the conduct of the offender’s driving and the circumstances of the accident were obviously serious. Because of the offender’s age at the time of the offence, the judge said he could have sentenced the offender by way of a Youth Justice Order, however the serious nature of the offending and the offender’s culpability meant the sentence needed to be more severe. He held that no sentence other than imprisonment would properly reflect the nature and the circumstances of the offending. The judge recommended, however, that the sentence be served in a Youth Justice Centre rather than an adult prison.
The offender was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of three years.