Night­mare car crash

Weekend Courier - - Front Page - Gabrielle Jef­fery

“TRAGIC be­yond words” was how lawyer Ti­mothy Houwel­ing de­scribed the Se­cret Harbour car crash that killed two teenagers and se­ri­ously in­jured another.

Mr Houwel­ing made the com­ment dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing of Se­cret Harbour teenager Joel John Payne in the Perth Mag­is­trates Court on Tues­day.

Payne (19) was sen­tenced to three-and-a-half years im­pris­on­ment af­ter he pleaded guilty to two counts of dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing death and dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing griev­ous bod­ily harm.

On Oc­to­ber 5 last year, Payne lost con­trol of the car he was driv­ing and it crashed into a tree.

Payne was speed­ing 36km/h above the 50km/h speed limit in his high-pow­ered Toy­ota Supra Coupe; there had been some light rain and it was dark.

He failed to ne­go­ti­ate a bend and hit a kerb, which sent the car ca­reen­ing off into a tree.

His good friend Mason Colin Hooton (17) was killed in­stantly. Another friend, Cal­lum Mum­mery (16), died at the scene.

The other pas­sen­ger, Shaun Howard Spar­row, suf­fered ex­ten­sive crit­i­cal in­juries that will af­fect him for the rest of his life.

Payne suf­fered mi­nor in­juries, in­clud­ing a haematoma to his fore­head, abra­sions to his face and knees, light swelling and pain to his el­bow and wrist. He said he has no mem­ory of the crash.

Mr Houwel­ing said no drugs or al­co­hol were in­volved.

“The state­ment of ma­te­rial facts is ac­cepted by the de­fen­dant, the ac­cused,” he said.

“Mat­ters that bring Mr Payne be­fore the court for the first time ever is a night­mare for him­self as well as all of the fam­i­lies in­volved.

“It’s tragic be­yond words. He’s taken re­spon­si­bil­ity and is re­morse­ful.”

Jus­tice Si­mon Stone read vic­tim im­pact state­ments and said Payne dis­played gen­uine re­morse.

“You’ve demon­strated gen­uine re­morse by your plea of guilty and by wish­ing to en­gage and of­fer­ing to en­gage in vic­tim me­di­a­tion,” he said.

“Your of­fend­ing, Mr Payne, is very se­ri­ous.

“The con­se­quences are tragic. Two youths lost their lives. Another youth sus­tained life-en­dan­ger­ing in­juries that he will suf­fer for the rest of his life. Fam­i­lies have been left griev­ing for the rest of their lives.

“Clearly there’s a need for gen­eral de­ter­rence. Driv­ers of pow­er­ful ve­hi­cles on the road must be taken to know that they can do enor­mous dam­age to life and limb if they drive ir­re­spon­si­bly in a man­ner dan­ger­ous to the pub­lic.”

As well as his three-and-a-half year prison sen­tence, Payne was dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for three years.

He is el­i­gi­ble for pa­role.

Mason Hooton and Cal­lum Mum­mery.

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