'It was unforgiving': Judge rejects killer driver's appeal
AN ELDERLY man who killed a 22-year-old motorcyclist in a collision has lost an appeal against the severity of his sentence.
Edwin Patrick Jessop faced Lismore District Court to appeal the severity of his sentence yesterday.
Jessop, 88, last year pleaded guilty to negligent driving occasioning death for the crash which killed Dann Jenkins, 22.
Mr Jenkins was leading a group of motorcyclists on Numinbah Rd north of Chillingham when Jessop crossed his path to turn into Couchy Creek Rd on the morning of October 24, 2016.
Expert reports indicated Jessop had 5.7 seconds to see Mr Jenkins before they collided.
He was sentenced to nine months' prison, suspended for 12 months, and disqualified from driving for three years in Lismore Local Court on December 11 last year.
Represented by barrister April Francis, Jessop was supported by his wife in court.
Ms Francis suggested Mr Jenkins was travelling faster than the speed limit.
The court also heard there may have been poor visibility caused by dappled shade.
Crown prosecutor Joshua Hanna opposed the appeal and argued the sentence imposed by Magistrate David Heilpern in December was appropriate.
"No less sentence than the sentence that was imposed by the magistrate is called for," Mr Hanna said.
Judge J North said he had to agree with Mr Heilpern's ruling.
"The worst thing happened here because of the type of vehicle (Jessop) was driving," Judge North said.
"It was very unforgiving."
Judge North said Jessop appeared to have made a "heartfelt" acknowledgement of the damage he had caused, and Jessop's otherwise spotless driving record.
But he ultimately dismissed the appeal.
"We have a very sad set of events," he said.
"I just cannot get over the fact a young man, aged 22, lost his life in these circumstances.
"I have no choice other than to dismiss the appeal."
Mr Jenkins' parents, Sue and Gary Jenkins, were present in court along with the father of one of the young men who was with the deceased on the fatal ride.
Mrs Jenkins told The Northern Star she was glad Jessop didn't receive a lighter penalty, but still "disgusted" with what she said was a lenient sentence.
The maximum penalty for negligent driving occasioning death is 18 months' imprisonment and a three year disqualification from driving.
Mrs Jenkins said she would continue a fight for tougher tests on elderly drivers.
She also hoped older motorists who caused fatalities would be judged in the same way as younger drivers.
"The only reason he didn't get jail time was because of his age," she said.
"Age is no excuse.
"My son is no less dead because of his age."
She said she was disappointed Jessop's counsel suggested in court her son could have been speeding at the time of the incident.
The court heard there was nothing to indicate this was the case.
Mrs Jenkins said she was collecting signatures to support her campaign for tougher testing outside Bunnings in Tweed Heads South each Saturday from 11am-1pm.
She has also been gathering support in an online petition: https://www.change.org/p/malcolm-turnbull-make-our-roads-safer-for-all-australians-through-mandatory-testing-of-elderly-drivers.