Guilty verdict is a lesson for all drivers
PROVING a charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while excessively speeding and causing the death and grievous bodily harm of a person is a difficult criminal conviction for any prosecution team. It’s an area of law fraught with legalese and complexities and a charge that police have repeatedly run into difficulties with, especially when confronted with a smart defence argument. With that murky legal background in mind, in the case of the death of teenager Jessica Lance and the trial of Charles Banhelyi, nothing was ever certain, not least of which was a guilty verdict handed down in the District Court late yesterday. Friends and family of Jessica will no doubt take some comfort today from the sentence, which carries a maximum jail term of 14 years. Clearly, the jury did not believe Mr Banhelyi’s evidence that an epileptic fit caused the tragedy. The verdict was swift and unequivocal. Mr Banhelyi’s guilty verdict is a lesson to everyone that a car is a lethal weapon and it must be always treated with respect and restraint. Hoons, in particular, need to understand the implications of driving erratically. For the Lance family, the past two-and-a-half years has been a difficult and emotional rollercoaster. They have had to endure the nightmare of losing their daughter and sister in such random and unfair circumstances. After today’s sentence, the Lance family can attempt some closure on another chapter in this sad and sorry saga.