No jail for fatal ute accident
A MAN who was driving a ute on a remote stretch of highway with six people in the back and major steering components disconnected will not see the inside of a jail.
James Parry, 49, has been handed a suspended sentence in the Supreme Court more than two years on from a fatal accident that saw a close relative killed when his unroadworthy ute veered off the road and into trees.
Crash investigators estimated Parry’s Toyota Hilux was travelling about 70km/h when its steering failed, leading to a crash in which four people were thrown from the ute’s tray. Two of the injured were flown to Darwin, one of whom died. Crown Prosecutor Matt Nathan SC said Parry had not held a licence since his learners licence expired in 1993.
Justice Anthony Graham said Parry “does seem to have traversed the criminal calen- dar” with convictions for trespass, “street offences”, property offences, reckless endangerment and “all sorts of driving offences”, but that he had seemingly turned a new leaf when he became a Christian and quit drinking.
Parry had also pleaded guilty to driving unlicensed at Borroloola Local Court in recent weeks.
Justice Graham said it was “surprising that he should drive when facing these charges”.
“He has to live with the fact that as a result of his driving someone has died, someone he knew well died, someone who is related to his partner died,” Justice Graham said.
Defence lawyer Jalal Razi said the ute was rarely taken on the highway.
Justice Graham handed Parry a two-year and threemonth sentence, fully suspended on a condition he be of good behaviour and disqualified him from driving for two years.