Awaiting new report to bring justice to Dimbulah women
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.”