Death car driver in adult jail

THERE were none of the usual 21st birthday celebrations for the young Lismore man responsible for killing four mates in a car crash at Broken Head in 2006 – just a sudden shift from juvenile detention to an adult prison.

After a failed bid to have him released from prison early, Lismore solicitor Ralph James yesterday confirmed the young man, who was only 17 when the crash happened and who cannot be named for legal reason, had been transferred to the John Moroney Correctional Complex at Windsor, north-west of Penrith,because he had turned 21.

However, Mr James said there was no indication the young man had faced any sort of physical danger in prison.

Mr James’ comments came as a prison officer from the Grafton jail was suspended over procedural issues after the bashing death of a 53-year-old man being held over traffic offences.

Police said the man was found in the jail last Thursday with severe head injuries, sustained during an alleged assault by another inmate.

The man died of his injuries in a Brisbane hospital on Monday.

Mr James said the young man jailed over the Broken Head crash faced no such issues and, in some ways, was physically safer than he had been in juvenile detention.

“(He’s) not going to be sharing a cell with someone who is not close to his own age and he’s in a medium-security facility,” Mr James said.

“He’s not housed with any significantly dangerous people ... some of the people he was locked up with in juvenile detention were there for some pretty heavy assaults.”

He said the biggest problem facing the young man now were his efforts to complete his HSC, which he had been working on while in juvenile detention, but which the adult system lacked the facilities for.

Mr James said the young man was striving to make sure he could be released when he became due for parole in January.

After that, he wanted to help train young drivers on the dangers of cars and how ‘nine seconds can change your whole life’.

“(He) wants to educate other people and say to them ‘you might think you’re infallible and can handle it all, but here are the dangers and here’s what happened to me,” Mr James said.

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