Drink-driv­ing killer ap­peal thrown out

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT - CHANEL KINNIBURGH

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.”

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