A driver who injured four cyclists and hit five cars during a three-hour rampage has received a cut to his sentence for one tragic reason.
A driver who injured four cyclists and hit five cars during a three-hour rampage has received a cut to his sentence for one tragic reason.

Driver to walk after ‘orgy of offending’

A man who injured four cyclists and hit five cars across a three-hour road rampage will likely walk from prison next week after a judge cut short his time behind bars because his mother is dying of cancer.

Queensland man Joel Mark Healy last year pleaded guilty to 13 driving offences, including four of failing to stop after causing injury and one of driving furiously causing bodily harm, over the July 2020 blitz on Sydney's roads.

Judge Christopher Armitage described the extraordinary sequence of crashes across seven different suburbs as "a true orgy of offending".

It occurred after Healy, who has schizophrenia, ceased taking his medication and embarked on a mission to find his estranged son, the NSW District Court heard on Friday.

"It's a heart-rending tale," Judge Armitage said.

"One man's descent into madness, if you put it that way."

Healy, 35, was sentenced to two years prison with a non-parole period of 12 months at Hornsby Local Court in November last year.

But he fronted court on Friday to appeal the sentence on the basis his mother had been diagnosed with metastatic cancer.

She is in palliative care with between three and 12 months to live, according to a letter from her oncologist.

Healy asked for his non-parole period to be slashed in half, which would make him eligible for release from Tuesday.

The Crown prosecutor conceded there was "room for reduction" but said six months was too much in the circumstances.

Judge Armitage found the situation of Healy's mother warranted the requested change.

"I'm prepared to do it, though with considerable reluctance," he said.

"His mother may die before he gets out, which no doubt would be extremely disturbing."

Healy’s non-parole period was slashed in half in the NSW District Court on Friday as his mother is dying of cancer. Picture: Channel 7
Healy’s non-parole period was slashed in half in the NSW District Court on Friday as his mother is dying of cancer. Picture: Channel 7

Healy had a traumatic childhood and was shunted between foster homes before being placed with his "very good" adoptive parents, Judge Armitage said.

He attempted to numb the lingering effects of his upbringing with alcohol and cannabis.

He has racked up an extensive traffic and criminal record in Queensland, including domestic violence offences, the court heard.

Judge Armitage described the six-month non-parole period as "extraordinarily lenient" and said those injured by Healy may find the reduction surprising.

"It would not have been (reduced) but for the very sad circumstance that his mother is likely to die while he is in custody," the judge said.

"For that reason, and for that reason alone, I propose to vary the non-parole period."

After handing down his decision, Judge Armitage turned to Healy and said "You're lucky, aren't you?"

The judge told him he was fortunate not to have killed anybody as he rocketed around in the rental SUV last July.

"You would have had those deaths or injuries on your conscience the rest of your life," the judge said.

"Somehow or other, due to extreme good luck for yourself and those people, that didn't happen."

The judge made psychiatric treatment and medication a condition of Healy's parole, before pausing and adding: "Well, I hope it works out."

"Thank you," Healy replied.

He is eligible for release on January 19, and will be subject to parole conditions until mid-2022.

Originally published as Driver to walk after 'orgy of offending'



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