Cyclist killer appeals jail sentence
THE man convicted of killing cyclist Stephen Small has appealed the severity of his nine-year jail sentence and a non-parole period of four years.
Nathan Craig MacDonald pleaded guilty to crashing his Great Wall ute into Mr Small at Doonan, who was riding home from work, on March 14 last year. MacDonald was convicted of dangerous driving causing death, admitting to being intoxicated at the time and leaving the scene before police arrived.
Under the current sentence, he will be eligible to apply for parole in March 2020, four years after the crash.
The case will now go to the Court of Appeal. A hearing date is yet to be determined.
At the time of sentencing, crown prosecutor Sam Bain told the court MacDonald did not brake or stop when he ploughed into Mr Small from behind, killing him instantly.
Judge John Robertson said Mr Small had no chance to take evasive action as MacDonald drove into him, the left side of his ute fully in the marked bike lane.
“It is beyond belief that you couldn’t have known that you hit him from the sound of the bicycle dragging down the road,” he said.
While MacDonald has launched his own action, Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson last month wrote to the AttorneyGeneral and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath seeking an appeal on the grounds that the sentence was insufficient. She also called for an appeal over the sentence imposed on Corey Michael Sinclair, who was a passenger in the car at the time Mr Small was killed. Sinclair and MacDonald had attacked another cyclist, Rod Wilcox, 30 minutes before killing Mr Small.
Sinclair pleaded guilty to common assault while adversely affected by a substance and was fined $450 and sentenced to 60 hours community service.
At the sentencing, Judge Robertson said in “over 20 years ... this is one of the most serious examples of dangerous driving causing death that I’ve come across”.
Stephen’s former partner Yolanda Brady was left shattered after hearing of the appeal.
“This whole legal system is screwed completely. It’s an archaic system which needs to be changed. If you take someone’s life, four years doesn’t make up for that. It doesn’t allow victims to move on,” she said.
“It’s a farce. He got away with murder. It was so intentional, to get a diluted sentence then have the audacity to appeal speaks volume of his character.
“I thought the judge deliberately gave the sentence he did so an appeal couldn’t be put in place.
“All I can pray for is he digs a bigger hole for himself and has to sit a bigger sentence.
“MacDonald is sitting there thinking poor him, he doesn’t get to see his kids. He clearly hasn’t had a day for a poor little boy who will never see his father again. ”
Cyclists have banded together waiting for an outcome to the appeal, calling for new laws which deliver harsher penalties for those who deliberately hurt or kill cyclists.
Stephen Small with his son Oscar.