01 April 2016

Director's Appeal dismissed

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a Director's appeal against a five-year Community Corrections Order imposed on Stephen Borg, who pleaded guilty in the County Court to two charges of dangerous driving causing death and two charges of dangerous driving causing serious injury.

Borg, who was 20 at the time, was the driver of a ute that crossed to the wrong side of the road and collided head-on with a 4WD carrying a family of five.  Two of the family members died - the 47-year-old mother and her five-year-old daughter - and  two others were seriously injured - a nine-year-old boy who suffered paraplegia and traumatic brain injury and the 47-year-old father who was seriously injured but expected to make a full recovery. A four-year-old boy was not seriously injured.

Director of Public Prosecutions John Champion S.C. appealed the sentence on the basis that a term of imprisonment was warranted.

The court heard that speed, alcohol and drugs were not involved in the accident. Fatigue was. Borg was sentenced on the basis that in the minutes before the collision, having swerved to the wrong side of the road and corrected twice, he was aware he should not be driving and should have desisted.

The court noted that Borg suffered from an undiagnosed high-functioning autism spectrum disorder that lowered his moral culpability which allowed for some leniency.

The Court of Appeal found a wholly non-custodial sentence could not be justified and was wholly inadequate. However, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal in the exercise of its residual discretion, largely because of the view that the Crown had initially persisted with a culpable driving charge – and refused an early plea to the current offences – thereby depriving Borg of a legitimate chance of receiving a Youth Justice Centre order.

For further information contact:

Lisa Walker

03 9603 7493
0400 494 962