Sentence summary: Culpable driving
The offender, who had recently been disqualified by the Children’s Court from obtaining a licence for 12 months, was riding a 125cc motorcycle that he had constructed himself from spare parts. The motorcycle was unregistered and was not fitted with front brakes, lights, horn or indicators. The offender was riding with friends through a crowded shopping centre, at speed and with a pillion passenger. Overtaking a car that was stopped at a pedestrian crossing, the offender collided with the victim who was in his path. The offender crashed, throwing himself and his passenger from the motorcycle. He then remounted the motorcycle and rode away, leaving the victim and his pillion passenger on the ground. The victim sustained a severe traumatic brain injury and was declared brain dead the following day. Life support was switched off and she was pronounced dead.
The offender pleaded guilty to one charge of culpable driving causing death and one charge of failure to stop after an accident.
The judge noted the offender’s previous charges and the further charges he’d accrued while on bail for this offence, including possession and use of a drug of dependence and retention of stolen goods.
The judge referred to a number of Victim Impact Statements – one reading, in part read: ‘What I find most upsetting about [the death of the victim] was the fact the accident happened and she was left. Such an inhumane act… I think “How much pain did she feel?”, “How aware was she?”, “How could someone just leave her there?”.’
Another Vitim Impact Statement read: ‘[The Victim] was stolen from us in the prime of her life. She will never see her children grow up and share all the joys of a parent with [her husband] and her family as they reach various milestones in their lives.’
The judge took into account the offender’s young age (18), which, legally, meant that rehabilitation was an important sentencing consideration in this case. The judge also found that an early guilty plea was a reflection of the offender’s remorse.
The judge denounced the offender’s conduct. She said it was morally reprehensible for him to have left the scene of the collision.
The offender was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years.