The accused was a 31 year old male with no relevant prior Court appearances. He was camping with his partner and three younger brothers and all of them went driving down a nearby dirt track to collect firewood. The three younger boys rode in the tray of the ute that the accused was driving. The accused had been drinking beer some time prior to driving, but statements from witnesses said that he did not appear drunk. On the way back from collecting firewood, the ute lost control and rolled a number of times. One of the accused’s brothers was thrown from the tray of the ute and was killed. The other two brothers received serious injuries.
We represented the client at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for the charges of:
- Dangerous Driving Causing Death
- Dangerous Driving Causing Serious Injury
The accused pleaded guilty to one charge of dangerous driving causing death, and two charges of dangerous driving causing injury. The Magistrate hearing the plea agreed that it was appropriate for the matter to be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court, rather than the County Court. At the plea hearing, Victim Impact Statements written by the brothers’ parents and the surviving brothers were tendered to the Court and each of the statements made it clear that they considered that death was an accident and that they did not want the accused to go to jail as a result of pleading guilty to the charges. The accused had, since the accident, sought counseling through a psychologist and a report was tendered to the Court. The psychologist had diagnosed the accused with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and recommended ongoing counseling. The partner of the accused had also recently had a baby, their first together, and because she was not working, the accused was financially responsible for the child.
The Magistrate agreed that this was a tragic situation, and commended the family on rallying around the accused in order to provide their support. He was of the opinion that there was no benefit to sending the accused to jail, and placed him on a wholly suspended sentence, combined with a Community Based Order (CBO) through which he could access grief counseling.
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