Driver in Broken Head crash to learn his fate
HE killed four mates in a deadly car crash near Broken Head, but today the teenage survivor responsible will learn of his own fate.
The 19-year-old Lismore man will know soon after 11am what punishment sentencing Judge Colin Charteris has deemed fitting.
The teenager turns 20 in April, but was a 17-year-old, Year 11 student with a provisional licence at the time of the October 2006 crash that killed Bryce Wells, Corey New, Mitchell Eveleigh and Paul Morris.
Yesterday, the judge said that giving a driver's licence to a 17-year-old was potentially like giving them 'a loaded gun' because medical science had shown their brains are not yet fully formed.
Judge Colin Charteris said the young driver had 'robbed' the four teenagers of their lives and the community had been robbed of these young people.
The driver has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of the four boys after his car overtook another car across double lines at a bend on a wet night, before it failed to take the next bend, became airborne then struck a tree.
The hearing of final submissions came close to being derailed yesterday with disagreement between the Crown and the defence legal team over the driver's speed at the time of the crash as 'agreed' in the facts.
They eventually agreed the driver had been travelling in the 'range of 103km/h to 111km/h', despite his P-plate licence restricting him to 90km/h, and driving in an 80km/h zone.
It has been part of defence argument the young man believed it to be a 100km speed zone, not realising it had become an 80km/h zone just weeks before the tragedy. The poor state of the car's tyres was also raised as part of defence argument.
Judge Charteris said the young driver had been undertaking an adult activity, had his own life and that of others in his hands, and knew he should not have been overtaking or driving that quickly.
Grieving parent Robert Wells, of Goonellabah, said outside the courthouse that whatever today's verdict, he would continue his fight to lift the age for drivers' licences.