Drink-driving killer appeal thrown out
A MOTHER-of-two who killed a motorcyclist while driving drunk on the wrong side of the road has lost an appeal against the length of her sentence.
Kristel Cee-Ann Cowen, of Rosetta, was in June sentenced to six years’ jail, with a nonparole period of four years, over the death of Bridgewater father Dion Hardy.
Cowen was driving on the wrong side of the Brooker Highway when she struck Mr Hardy just north of the Elwick Rd intersection at 62km/h in a 40km/h roadworks zone on October 14, 2016. A blood sample taken at the time of the crash revealed Cowen was more than three times over the legal blood-alcohol limit, returning a reading of 0.213 per cent. She also had prescription drugs in her system.
The court heard Cowen had fallen “into a pattern of binge drinking” after the death of her partner and a separate traumatic experience just weeks before the crash.
She pleaded guilty to Mr Hardy’s manslaughter in May.
Defence lawyer Todd Kovacic yesterday told the Court of Criminal Appeal in Hobart the sentence was “manifestly excessive”.
“The appellant pleaded guilty in this case, there are a number of mitigating factors … and in all circumstances six years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of four years, was manifestly excessive and the appeal should be allowed,” he said. Mr Kovacic cited three cases during his submissions, including the sentencing of repeat drink-driver Ian Bruce Rushton.
Rushton was nearly three times over the legal blood-alcohol limit when he killed close friend Vincent Allan in a rollover crash on the Huon Highway near Dover in March 2014. His sentence was increased on appeal to two years and nine months in prison, with a non-parole period of half that time.
“His licence was disqualified, he was travelling too fast for the conditions and an aggravating feature of that matter was that the respondent was trying to pervert the course of justice, in claiming that he was not the driver at the time of the crime,” Mr Kovacic said.
Chief Justice Alan Blow, Justice Stephen Estcourt and Justice Brian Martin did not listen to the Crown’s case against the appeal, deliberating for just 10 minutes before dismissing it. Chief Justice Blow said: “We acknowledge that the non-parole period was a lengthy one … but we don’t consider the result of the sentence, by that I mean the head sentence and non-parole period as a package, was made manifestly excessive.”