PRISON FOR DRIVER

Tourist handed five-year sen­tence af­ter fa­tal Air­lie Beach crash

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Alexan­dria Utting

PO­LICE did not find a man killed by a drunk Is­raeli tourist driv­ing in Air­lie Beach last year un­til hours af­ter they at­tended the scene, a court has been told.

Omer It­shaky, 24, was last Fri­day sen­tenced in the Bris­bane District Court af­ter plead­ing guilty to pos­ses­sion of dan­ger­ous drugs, dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing death while in­tox­i­cated and fail­ing to pro­vide a breath test.

The for­mer Is­raeli sol­dier was jailed for five years af­ter killing Kevin Bankier, 46, as he walked home af­ter spend­ing the night with friends at the lo­cal yacht club on Novem­ber 5, 2017.

The court heard It­shaky, who re­turned a blood al­co­hol read­ing of 0.120 af­ter the in­ci­dent, and had been seen swerv­ing on Shute Har­bour Rd shortly be­fore he veered into a turn­ing lane and hit Mr Bankier.

It­shaky’s van then lost con­trol over a traf­fic is­land un­til it stopped in a nearby drain cul­vert, the court heard.

Foren­sic ev­i­dence showed the ve­hi­cle had not braked dur­ing the crash and it was likely It­shaky had fallen asleep at the wheel be­cause of his in­tox­i­ca­tion.

The then 23-year-old had been trav­el­ling to a nearby car­a­van park af­ter fin­ish­ing work at Hog’s Breath Cafe that evening.

He had bro­ken up with his girl­friend the day be­fore.

The court heard when po­lice found It­shaky in the ve­hi­cle af­ter the crash, he de­nied driv­ing the car, say­ing a friend was be­hind the wheel.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Alexan­dra Baker said the crown could not prove It­shaky knew he had struck the 46-year-old man.

“This is con­sis­tent with (It­shaky) hav­ing lost con­scious­ness,” she said.

“Po­lice ar­rived at the scene af­ter be­ing alerted to it’s pres­ence be­cause of a taxi driver who flagged them down.

“Wit­nesses who saw him swerv­ing on the road and stopped to ren­der as­sis­tance also did not re­alise (Mr Bankier) had been struck.

“Ul­ti­mately po­lice at­tended shortly af­ter 3am, un­for­tu­nately (he) wasn’t found by them. An hour later the sec­ond unit of po­lice ar­rived and it was found some­one had been killed.”

In a vic­tim im­pact state­ment ten­dered to the court, Mr Bankier’s mother said her life would “never be the same” and now takes anti-de­pres­sants.

De­fence bar­ris­ter Ja­son Tod­man told the court his client suf­fered from post trau­matic stress dis­or­der af­ter com­bat ser­vice in the Is­raeli army.

He said It­shaky only be­came aware he had killed some­one at the watch­house and his re­morse was “deep and heart­felt”.

“My client fully ac­cepts the facts, fully ac­cepts his blood al­co­hol level,” Mr Tod­man said.

In sen­tenc­ing, Judge Paul Smith said it was likely It­shaky would suf­fer hard­ship while in jail be­cause his fam­ily, which lives in Is­rael, would be un­able to visit him.

“... These are very dif­fi­cult cases be­cause no doubt, Mr It­shaky, it’s had a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on you as well, be­cause you will have to live with this for the rest of your life,” he said.

“... On the other hand, some­one was killed and you made the con­scious de­ci­sion to, while af­fected by liquor, get be­hind the wheel.”

The 24-year-old was also dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for four years.

It­shaky’s jail sen­tence will be sus­pended for five years af­ter 18 months jail has been served.

❝a ... it’s had sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on you as well, be­cause you will have to live with this for the rest of your life.

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