Ben Donohoe
Ben Donohoe File

Dysfunctional childhood

THE driver who killed a Byron Bay man in a crash in 2010 will not have his jail time extended after a Court of Criminal Appeal delivered a judgment highlighting the offender's troubled childhood.

Shane Richard Millwood, 27, was sentenced to five years in jail with a non-parole period of four years after he pleaded guilty to aggravated dangerous driving causing death and aggravated dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm in the Lismore District Court last year.

Millwood was drink-driving erratically along Bangalow Rd at Byron Bay on July 18, 2010 when he picked up Suffolk Park hitchhikers, Ben Donohoe and Dylan Garft.

Millwood lost control of the car and smashed into a tree, killing Mr Donohoe, 20, and seriously injuring Mr Garft.

The Department of Public Prosecutions launched an appeal over the inadequacy of Millwood's sentence, handed down by Judge James Black.

The appeal was heard in the Sydney-based Court of Criminal Appeal in December and the judgment was delivered earlier this month.

One of the four grounds that the DPP based their appeal on was that Judge Black devoted a lot of his sentencing remarks around Millwood's "dysfunctional upbringing."

The appeal judgement states that Millwood had a "severely dysfunctional" childhood and was bought up in a family where his mother and stepfather were hero- in addicts and he was subject to domestic violence.

When he was 16 years old, Millwood watched his mother die from a heroin overdose after a failed attempt to resuscitate her.

Justice Simpson said he found it difficult to believe someone with that upbringing could have the same moral responsibility as someone with a normal upbringing.

"I should not be taken as implying that such a person bears no moral responsibility; but I consider that the DPP's submission significantly underestimates the impact of a dysfunctional childhood," he said.

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