Await­ing new re­port to bring jus­tice to Dimbulah women

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Janessa Ek­ert and Bec Singh THE fam­ily of a Dimbulah model who was trag­i­cally killed in a crash last year await a har­row­ing de­lay in the court case in­volv­ing the other driver.

Mat­ters against a young French nurse re­spon­si­ble for the fa­tal crash that killed Far North­ern teen model El­yse Miller-Kennedy have been ad­journed for a med­i­cal re­port that could save her from spend­ing time in jail.

Cindy Gonin was meant to be sen­tenced in the Cairns District Court on Wed­nes­day after plead­ing guilty to dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing death on the Ma­reeba Dimbulah Rd on Au­gust 3 last year.

She had been driv­ing on the wrong side of the road and caused a head-on col­li­sion.

Judge Michael Shana­han was not sat­is­fied with the med­i­cal re­port pro­vided to the court. It had been com­piled by Gonin’s GP in France and listed the med­i­ca­tion she was currently tak­ing.

Judge Shana­han said it did not go into de­tail about Gonin’s psy­cho­log­i­cal state, which could play an im­por­tant part in de­ter­min­ing her penalty. He said it sug­gested PTSD and self-harm­ing, but didn’t go into de­tails or con­firm a di­ag­no­sis.

“It seems to me th­ese is­sues may be suf­fi­cient to keep her out of jail,” Mr Shana­han said.

“In ab­sence of it (a com­pre­hen­sive re­port) would be a jail sen­tence, ac­tual time to be served.”

Gonin also suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries and re­quired many surg­eries. She ar­rived in Aus­tralia on Sun­day on a crim­i­nal jus­tice visa. She can­not walk with­out the aid of crutches and is on daily pain med­i­ca­tion.

De­fence bar­ris­ter Michael Dal­ton said she had been un­able to work since the crash and was on the French equiv­a­lent of so­cial se­cu­rity.

There was lim­ited fund­ing for a com­pre­hen­sive med­i­cal re­port to be com­piled.

Mr Dal­ton, who was act­ing for Gonin in a pro bono ca­pac­ity, said a Le­gal Aid ap­pli­ca­tion had only been lodged yes­ter­day and usu­ally took some time. In an ideal world we would have a re­port from an or­tho­pe­dic sur­geon and a re­port from a psy­chi­a­trist,” Mr Dal­ton said.

“That doesn’t make the court task any eas­ier to do jus­tice for any­one,” Judge Shana­han said.

Judge Shana­han ad­journed the case for men­tion on Fri­day and rec­om­mended “whole­heart­edly” for Le­gal Aid to speed up Gonin’s ap­pli­ca­tion process.

Ma­reeba Shire Coun­cil­lor Nip­per Brown said the small com­mu­nity was still griev­ing over the loss of Ms MillerKennedy.

“We can only imag­ine how tough the fam­ily might have been do­ing it and it would be re­ally hard for them,” he said.

“They would be look­ing for some clo­sure for this but again they will have to wait.

“The com­mu­nity is there to support them and will al­ways be there for them.

“That is what a small com­mu­nity like Dimbulah does, comes to­gether in times of need.”

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