Death prompts review into driving penalties
A CORONER has blamed a Whitsunday man who should not have been driving for the death of Mackay grandmother Audrey Dow.
As part of his findings from the coronial inquest into the crash involving Aaron Kite, then 28 and Mrs Dow, 81, Central Queensland Coroner David O’Connell said issues raised would now be referred to the Attorney-General to consider a law reform.
Mrs Dow, who had an unblem- ished driving history of 63 years, died on the evening of July 31, 2013, from injuries sustained in the crash.
Mr Kite, whose driving history was described as “utterly deplorable”, including 11 suspensions and four court-ordered disqualifications, was later charged with driving without due care and attention while disqualified and was fined $4000.
Mr O’Connell said Mrs Dow’s fa- mily were “understandably upset” that Kite could only be charged with this offence, with the fact she had died not able to be considered a circumstance of aggravation in law.
“The family seeks that the law be changed as they consider it is inadequate to deal with matters such as this [and] I have no doubt that many members of the wider community share their views,” he said.
Mr O’Connell said this was a circumstance where a lady lost her life because of a man who should never have been driving and who ignored court orders.
“Clearly the law in Queensland needs to change... [and] in addition it may be appropriate that the present driving laws be amended to have a specific circumstance of aggravation for driving without due care and attention... where the offending driver causes grievous bodily harm or death... and was unlicensed, suspended or disqualified,” he said. “Some may consider that the only way to prevent people like Mr Kite from driving is that he loses his liberty, that is, he should be imprisoned. That of course, is not a matter for me to comment on, but what is clear is that at present there is a significant legislative gap.”
One of Mrs Dow’s daughters was in court to hear these findings handed down last week and said the family was happy with the outcome.