Sentence summary: Culpable driving
The offender drove while grossly affected by the drug Ice. He was speeding and driving erratically before he lost control of his car, crossed onto the wrong side of the road and collided with a small minibus containing a group of elderly residents from a nursing home. One victim died at the scene, another died the following day and a third suffered severe injuries resulting in serious ongoing physical impairment. A quantity of Ice and a glass pipe was found on the offender at the scene.
The offender pleaded guilty to two charges of culpable driving causing death, one charge of negligently causing serious injury, one charge of possession of a drug of dependence and one summary charge of driving while disqualified.
The judge found the offender had high moral culpability, particularly as he was a long-term drug addict and aware of how he acted when affected by drugs. The judge also took into account the offender’s long string of previous convictions, including one just 48 days before the collision, which was for driving over the alcohol limit and being disqualified from driving.
The judge took note of the offender’s expressions of remorse and that the offender had pleaded guilty to all the charges at the earliest opportunity.
The offender’s young age (24) was taken into account, as was his troubled upbringing, which was marked by his older brother’s death, a violent father and a school life marked by suspensions and bullying. He noted the offender’s history of depression, anxiety, anorexia, borderline personality disorder, self-harm and substance abuse.
The judge found that the offender’s history helped explain his offending but did not excuse it. He also found that sentencing had to be guided by the principles of general and specific deterrence, the community’s denunciation of the crime and the offender’s poor prospects of rehabilitation.
The offender was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of seven and a half years. The judge also imposed a ten-year licence suspension.