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"It's a chance to set things right": Family welcomes appeal

Shaun Zagar, with children (left) Kaleb, 6, and Zara 5. All three were killed in a crash at Dyraaba last year.
Shaun Zagar, with children (left) Kaleb, 6, and Zara 5. All three were killed in a crash at Dyraaba last year.

ANDREW Zagar says he feels elation and sadness at news prosecutors will try for a harsher sentence against the man who killed his son and two of his grandchildren.

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday confirmed it would appeal against the sentence of Malcolm Joseph Harris, who killed Shaun Zagar and his children Kaleb and Zara in a crash at Dyraaba last year.

The director, Lloyd Babb SC, has directed that there be an appeal into the adequacy of the sentence.

Mr Zagar welcomed the news.

"I was feeling so down and worried about how it was all evolving, but this is the best news I've had in a very long time. It's a chance to set things right," Mr Zagar said.

Harris, 37, was served an eight-year concurrent jail sentence for three charges of dangerous driving occasioning death and one of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm in Lismore District Court on August 19.

However, as the sentences are to be served concurrently and a 25% reduction was applied for an early guilty plea, Mr Harris could be released on parole by March 14, 2016.

In court Harris claimed his epilepsy contributed to the crash, but Judge Wells said Mr Harris had never held a licence and had been disqualified from driving until 2030.

He said Mr Harris knew he had sporadic epileptic blackouts and shouldn't drive.

An online petition has gathered more than 5000 signatures asking for the sentence to be reviewed.

Andrew Zagar said nobody could understand what their family was going through.

He said they welcomed the appeal but would like to see changes to legislation regarding repeat offenders.

"This is not just about the loss to our family but for any family that has suffered, or could suffer a similar loss," Mr Zagar said.

"There are similar repeat offenders who have caused loss and grief for other families.

"The justice system the way it is needs to be changed to deter people.

"Unless there are higher penalties and people are aware of them before they go and do these stupid things, there's not much deterrent at all."

The appeal is listed for a call over in the Court of Criminal Appeal on September 11.

Topics:  dpp dyraaba fatal editors picks



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