Culpable Driving Causing Death to Reckless Conduct Endangering Life
Our client was the driver of one of three vehicles that were driving at high speed. The drivers of the other two vehicles were brothers, and are long-term associates of our client. One of the other two vehicles was in the lane to the left of our client’s; and the second vehicle was directly behind our client’s. Our client’s car and vehicle one have nudged each other as they drove side by side. The driver of vehicle one has braked heavily, skidded, and left the road before hitting a fence and a timber post. The driver was killed as a result of the collision.
Our client was charged with culpable driving causing death. The prosecution alleged that he was drag racing with the two other vehicles. Our client denied that he was drag racing. He told the police that he was in fact being chased by the other two vehicles because of a dispute that had arisen among them all. He also told the police that he had serious concerns for his safety (and that of his partner and baby who were passengers in his car) and was trying to get to the nearest police station.
We represented the client at the Melbourne County Court.
Our client ultimately pleaded guilty to two charges of reckless conduct endangering life. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 6 months.
In taking this matter to trial, the prosecution were relying on expert reports prepared by the police vehicle collision forensic team. The expert opinion of these officers was that our client’s vehicle had swerved into the vehicle of the deceased causing the crash. We engaged an independent vehicle collision expert to review the evidence and formulate an independent opinion of the causes of the collision. Significantly, that expert opinion cast doubt on the police formulation of how the crash had been caused. As a result, the prosecution had to review their case and ultimately withdrew the culpable driving causing death charge.
DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 25/02/2013