Driver smoked 'pot' before crash

HE admits to smoking around 30 cannabis cones a day and a judge in Lismore District Court has found Benjamin Davis did smoke cannabis on the day he killed his teenage girlfriend in a car crash on the Pacific Highway.

Davis, 24, of Ballina, was sentenced to serve at least 30 months jail by Judge James Black on Friday after being found guilty of dangerous driving under the influence of cannabis on December 17, 2007 at Wardell, causing the death of Taylia Roberts-Simpson.

Ms Roberts-Simpson, 17, of Ballina, died in a Gold Coast hospital as a result of her injuries on December 29, 2007.

Davis had denied in court to smoking the drug on that fatal day although he admitted consuming a large amount of cannabis the day before.

Taking into account medical evidence of the drug in a blood sample taken from Davis after the accident, Judge Black found the driver ingested four or five cones of cannabis prior to the accident.

Davis, who was also a disqualified driver, was turning onto the Pacific Highway when his car collided with the southbound vehicle.

The Crown said Davis ‘abandoned his responsibility’ by putting his two passengers at risk after smoking the drug, and his moral culpability was high in causing the loss of life.

The Crown said such tragic offences were now before the courts in greater frequency with their resulting devastation.

“She was only 17. Everyone close to her wonders what she would have made of her life,” the Crown said.

The Crown said Davis had previously been before the court for driving unlicensed and twice in 2007 for driving disqualified, and at the time of the crash was disqualified from driving until November 2012.

Public defender Chris Bruce SC said his client had led ‘a miserable wretched life’ and he asked for some understanding and court leniency.

Judge Black sentenced Davis to three-and-a half years jail with a non-parole period of 30 months – making him eligible for release from jail in June 2012. He was disqualified from driving until November 2016.

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