Death prompts re­view into driv­ing penal­ties

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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