Jordan Gear, criminal defence lawyer from Longton Legal recently represented a client who was charged with an offence of negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm. The client was a 24-year-old woman who had no criminal convictions or traffic matters on her record, and she had never even appeared before the courts. Fortunately for our client, Mr Gear was able to convince the Court that a conviction would not be appropriate and the case was resolved in a resounding success.
Our client was driving a motor vehicle, waiting at a stop sign to make a right hand turn at a T-intersection facing south. At this time, the victim was riding a motorcycle heading west. Our client attempted to make the right-hand turn, however, as she did, she collided with the right-hand side of the victim’s motorcycle. The victim was thrown from his motorcycle and landed heavily on the road surface.
Following the incident, the accused and other passers by stopped at the scene and rendered aid until the arrival of emergency services. The victim was taken by ambulance to hospital for treatment.
Our client provided a version of the events to police, where she admitted that she was at fault in relation to the collision.
The victim suffered a number of injuries, including a pelvic fracture which required him to undergo surgery where a large screw was inserted into the victim’s pelvis. The fracture was diagnosed as a ‘two-column right ace-tabular fracture’ and was a fracture to the socket portion of the hip. This injury was such as to meet the definition of ‘grievous bodily harm’, being a really serious injury.
The charge was an offence contrary to section 117(1)(b) of the Road Transport Act 2013, and carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 9 months, a maximum fine of $2,200, and an automatic period of licence disqualification of 3 years or a minimum period of licence disqualification of 12 months upon conviction. The only way to avoid the imposition of a very lengthy disqualification period was by seeking a sentencing option where no conviction is imposed.
Unfortunately, our client was convicted, fined $1,650 and disqualified from driving for a period of 12 months in the Local Court. But she decided to file an appeal to the District Court against the severity of the Sentence imposed upon her.
In the District Court, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is entitled to rely on evidence not heard in the Local Court. This also applies to the appellant. The ODPP hence sought to rely on a victim impact statement not tendered in the Local Court, as well as a number of medical documents, x-ray images and insurance assessments. This was for the purposes of illustrating the significant impact of the injury upon the victim. This created a significant barrier to obtaining the leniency of a sentencing option imposed without conviction that was not present in the Local Court.
Nevertheless, Mr Gear, appearing in the Parramatta District Court, managed to convince the Presiding Judge that it was still appropriate to proceed by way of non-conviction, and to allow the client to retain her licence. This was on the basis that she did not engage in a high level of negligence, the injuries suffered were not the most serious examples of ‘grievous bodily harm’, the client’s clean traffic record in nearly nine years of driving, our client’s actions in admitting fault and actively assisting the victim following the crash, the client’s otherwise good character, remorse and strong prospects of rehabilitation.
Following Mr Gear’s vigorous and articulate submissions, His Honour saw fit to impose a Conditional Release Order without conviction for a period of 2 years to date from the day of the appeal.
If you wish to obtain the services of a talented criminal law advocate like Mr Gear, we recommend that you contact Longton Legal. The criminal law team at Longton Legal have significant experience in all areas of criminal and traffic law in all levels of the NSW court system.
*Disclaimer: This is intended as general information only and not to be construed as legal advice. The above information is subject to changes over time. You should always seek professional advice before taking any course of action.*
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