Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

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Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby Ross » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:21 am

So another inattentive cyclist killing driver given slap on wrist. :evil:

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/drive ... 2p75p.html

ackson Costa was 19 when he crashed into the back of Geelong sporting identity Rex Sizeland and one of his two riding companions outside Torquay on the morning of December 21, 2009. Mr Sizeland, 66, died the next day in hospital from a head injury.

Coroner Kim Parkinson found Mr Costa was responsible for Mr Sizeland's death.

Ms Parkinson said in her report that she was troubled by the timing of the receipt of a text message on Mr Costa's mobile phone and the collision, which happened shortly after.
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A police officer who investigated the crash told Mr Sizeland's inquest he believed Mr Costa was probably reading the text message when he hit the cyclists. Mr Costa denied this.

The inquest was told Mr Costa took no evasive action in his car until after the impact.

Ms Parkinson said the only explanation for Mr Costa being unable to see the three cyclists – who were wearing bright protective clothing and riding on a clear, sunny day – was through a distraction.

But she said she was unable to say with certainty that Mr Costa was distracted because he was reading a text message sent to him by a friend about the television program Family Guy.

"I find that Mr Sizeland and the other cyclists would have been readily observable on the roadway to any driver who was paying proper attention to the roadway ahead and that the driver of the vehicle, Mr Jackson Costa, was distracted from the task of driving, although I am unable to conclude as to the basis of the distraction," the coroner said in her finding, handed down late last week.

"The death of Mr Sizeland is a tragic reminder, particularly to young or inexperienced drivers, that the task of driving a motor vehicle is a serious responsibility and that momentary distraction, whether as a result of distraction by electronic devices or for any other reason, can be sufficient time for a catastrophic collision to occur."

The inquest into Mr Sizeland's death, held in March, was told Mr Jackson received a text message at 8.17am while in his car, but that he did not read it at the time, possibly because he did not hear its arrival over his car stereo.

He crashed into Mr Sizeland and the other rider – who escaped serious injury – between 8.20am and 8.22am in Breamlea Road.

The inquest head Mr Jackson told police his line of sight was obscured by a cloud of dust, but Ms Parkinson said she did not accept this evidence.

In 2010 Mr Costa was fined $900 and banned from driving for six months after pleading guilty at Geelong Magistrates' Court to one charge of careless driving.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/drive ... z2XuxHA3dc
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by BNA » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:39 am

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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby il padrone » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:39 am

Quite appalling token punishment he was awarded. Sadly even if the coroner found that he was definitely reading the text message there is nothing that could be done. It's the magistrate who was a sop to the rev-heads.

I'd guess that if this sort of collision occurred in Europe it would be a fine running into the thousands of Euros and disqualified for multiple years.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby herzog » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:44 am

6 month ban? You can get that for unpaid parking tickets.

They are kidding.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby Shred931 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:11 am

Nothing less than State sanctioned murder
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby Gerry.M » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:14 am

Shred931 wrote:Nothing less than State sanctioned murder

+1

and this: Mr Costa was fined $900

$900 for killing someone?
If he had been drunk he would have probably gone to jail, but playing with your phone is somehow less irresponsible than drink driving.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby Aushiker » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:59 am

Interesting reaction on Reddit ...

Very sad to see a life have so little value in our society.

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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby biker jk » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:20 am

Since it's next to impossible to prove that the driver was reading a text message (causing the distraction) then the Magistrate is essentially concluding that you can kill someone (cyclists in particular) with little penalty by using your car as a weapon. The law is a huge *ss. This case will be some deterrent to dangerous and reckless driving...NOT.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby exadios » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:16 pm

I'm surprised that the perp's trial took place before the Coroner's hearing. Had it happened after the charge may have been more than "Careless Driving".
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby Marto » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:52 pm

One charge of careless driving!

"oh, I was just being careless, that's all"
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby zero » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:02 pm

biker jk wrote:Since it's next to impossible to prove that the driver was reading a text message (causing the distraction) then the Magistrate is essentially concluding that you can kill someone (cyclists in particular) with little penalty by using your car as a weapon. The law is a huge *ss. This case will be some deterrent to dangerous and reckless driving...NOT.


If they scheduled the inquiry to be within 12 months of the incident, then the police would be able to use the coroners inquest in addition to their accident investigation, and the coroner would be able to recommend charges. Doing an inquest in 2013 into a 2009 fatality is just a rubber stamp serving little real purpose. Probably not really able to blame the coroner herself for that.

I do not however understand how they managed to charge a driver with careless driving, when the victim died before the charges were laid. Surely the minimum possible charges for such an event would have been careless driving causing death.

I also think they need to rethink motor accident sentencing, and remove all weighting of sentences due to age. The age group that gets the largest discount on sentences is the age group that causes the most fatalities.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby Jesmol » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:25 pm

zero wrote:
biker jk wrote:Since it's next to impossible to prove that the driver was reading a text message (causing the distraction) then the Magistrate is essentially concluding that you can kill someone (cyclists in particular) with little penalty by using your car as a weapon. The law is a huge *ss. This case will be some deterrent to dangerous and reckless driving...NOT.


If they scheduled the inquiry to be within 12 months of the incident, then the police would be able to use the coroners inquest in addition to their accident investigation, and the coroner would be able to recommend charges. Doing an inquest in 2013 into a 2009 fatality is just a rubber stamp serving little real purpose. Probably not really able to blame the coroner herself for that.

I do not however understand how they managed to charge a driver with careless driving, when the victim died before the charges were laid. Surely the minimum possible charges for such an event would have been careless driving causing death.

I also think they need to rethink motor accident sentencing, and remove all weighting of sentences due to age. The age group that gets the largest discount on sentences is the age group that causes the most fatalities.

I dont think there is a charge for this, its Dangerous Driving causing death, which has a much higher burden of proof.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby zero » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:34 pm

Jesmol wrote:
I dont think there is a charge for this, its Dangerous Driving causing death, which has a much higher burden of proof.


Victoria has the culpable charge, which has negligence and keeping a lookout in its wording. its equivalent to other states neg/careless driving occasioning death type charges, and does not require the driving to be proven to be foreseeably dangerous.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby jules21 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:56 pm

zero wrote:
Jesmol wrote:
I dont think there is a charge for this, its Dangerous Driving causing death, which has a much higher burden of proof.


Victoria has the culpable charge, which has negligence and keeping a lookout in its wording. its equivalent to other states neg/careless driving occasioning death type charges, and does not require the driving to be proven to be foreseeably dangerous.

my understanding of culpable driving was that it must include the latter? typically it is upheld when there is evidence of a premeditated decision to take a risk - e.g. driving while impaired. by constrast, there was an infamous case of truckie who drove into the side of a train at Kerang level crossing. he had no defence beyond "ooops!" yet the culpable driving charge was rejected as the prosecution failed to prove he made a decision which gave rise to the risk of hitting the train - e.g. trying to beat it across the crossing, not that anyone is suggesting that was the case *cough*

i do not understand how "oops" is accepted as a valid defence for drivers who maim or kill. there seems little reason - other than how the law is crafted (but can be changed) - for why "oops i killed someone" isn't made a serious offence in its own right.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby gorilla monsoon » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:59 pm

Every now and then I become a big fan of vigilantism. Just for a little while.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby find_bruce » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:01 pm

zero wrote:If they scheduled the inquiry to be within 12 months of the incident, then the police would be able to use the coroners inquest in addition to their accident investigation, and the coroner would be able to recommend charges. Doing an inquest in 2013 into a 2009 fatality is just a rubber stamp serving little real purpose. Probably not really able to blame the coroner herself for that.

Standard practice is that where criminal charges are to be laid, the coronial investigation suspended until completion of the criminal process. This is the case in Victoria, NSW and I believe is common across Australia. There are plenty of examples where this happens, not just in motor vehicle deaths, eg death of a disabled girl and CUB wall collapse

The reason is because a coroner can require a person to answer questions, even if the evidence will reveal that the witness committed a criminal offence. The right to not to answer questions is one of the few fundamental rights in the Australian legal system. The balance that has been struck is that while the coroner can require a witness to answer questions, the answers cannot be used in criminal proceedings. Because of the risk of tainting the criminal proceedings, these are conducted first.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby jules21 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:09 pm

find_bruce wrote:The reason is because a coroner can require a person to answer questions, even if the evidence will reveal that the witness committed a criminal offence. The right to not to answer questions is one of the few fundamental rights in the Australian legal system. The balance that has been struck is that while the coroner can require a witness to answer questions, the answers cannot be used in criminal proceedings. Because of the risk of tainting the criminal proceedings, these are conducted first.

there are vaguely similar provisions in other laws - e.g. investigatory bodies which can compel people to answer questions, but the answers cannot be used in the course of a prosecution. nothing stopping the prosecutor reading the investigation report and re-asking the same question in court though...
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby Jesmol » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:20 pm

zero wrote:
Jesmol wrote:
I dont think there is a charge for this, its Dangerous Driving causing death, which has a much higher burden of proof.


Victoria has the culpable charge, which has negligence and keeping a lookout in its wording. its equivalent to other states neg/careless driving occasioning death type charges, and does not require the driving to be proven to be foreseeably dangerous.

I think you'll find Culpable is a greater charge than Dangerous.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby find_bruce » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:26 pm

jules21 wrote:
find_bruce wrote:The reason is because a coroner can require a person to answer questions, even if the evidence will reveal that the witness committed a criminal offence. The right to not to answer questions is one of the few fundamental rights in the Australian legal system. The balance that has been struck is that while the coroner can require a witness to answer questions, the answers cannot be used in criminal proceedings. Because of the risk of tainting the criminal proceedings, these are conducted first.

there are vaguely similar provisions in other laws - e.g. investigatory bodies which can compel people to answer questions, but the answers cannot be used in the course of a prosecution. nothing stopping the prosecutor reading the investigation report and re-asking the same question in court though...

But only if the accused gives evidence, which is unusual. The more common use is where there are multiple accused & the answers of one are used in evidence against the other.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby find_bruce » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:54 pm

There is a whole bunch of misinformation in this thread about culpable driving and dangerous driving in Victoria. Both are offences under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)
Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) wrote:318. Culpable driving causing death
(1) Any person who by the culpable driving of a motor vehicle causes the death of another person shall be guilty of an indictable offence and shall be liable to level 3 imprisonment (20 years maximum) or a level 3 fine or both.
(2)For the purposes of subsection (1) a person drives a motor vehicle culpably if he drives the motor vehicle-[/list]
  1. recklessly, that is to say, if he consciously and unjustifiably disregards a substantial risk that the death of another person or the infliction of grievous bodily harm upon another person may result from his driving; or
  2. negligently, that is to say, if he fails unjustifiably and to a gross degree to observe the standard of care which a reasonable man would have observed in all the circumstances of the case; or
  3. whilst under the influence of alcohol to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the motor vehicle; or
  4. whilst under the influence of a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the motor vehicle. ...
319. Dangerous driving causing death or serious injury
(1) A person who, by driving a motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner that is dangerous to the public having regard to all the circumstances of the case, causes the death of another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).

There is no difference in the burden of proof - in both cases the prosecution must prove the elements of the offence beyond reasonable doubt.

If you want to understand the differences, I suggest you read the recent High Court decision in the somewhat amusingly named King v The Queen [2012] HCA 24.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby exadios » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:21 pm

zero wrote:
biker jk wrote:Since it's next to impossible to prove that the driver was reading a text message (causing the distraction) then the Magistrate is essentially concluding that you can kill someone (cyclists in particular) with little penalty by using your car as a weapon. The law is a huge *ss. This case will be some deterrent to dangerous and reckless driving...NOT.


If they scheduled the inquiry to be within 12 months of the incident, then the police would be able to use the coroners inquest in addition to their accident investigation, and the coroner would be able to recommend charges. Doing an inquest in 2013 into a 2009 fatality is just a rubber stamp serving little real purpose. Probably not really able to blame the coroner herself for that.

I do not however understand how they managed to charge a driver with careless driving, when the victim died before the charges were laid. Surely the minimum possible charges for such an event would have been careless driving causing death.

I also think they need to rethink motor accident sentencing, and remove all weighting of sentences due to age. The age group that gets the largest discount on sentences is the age group that causes the most fatalities.


There is age based sentencing weighting?
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:24 pm

I feel sick :(
gorilla monsoon wrote:Every now and then I become a big fan of vigilantism. Just for a little while.

You gotta mate there Gorilla.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby petie » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:28 pm

Driving is a privilege. If you don't do it right, you lose the privilege. Pity our legislators and law makers don't see it that way and that there are too many votes in keeping the system the same.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby exadios » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:53 pm

petie wrote:Driving is a privilege. If you don't do it right, you lose the privilege. Pity our legislators and law makers don't see it that way and that there are too many votes in keeping the system the same.


Time for me to get my favorite hobby horse out, saddle her up and take her for a spin. In my view in order to drive all license holders should take, and pass, a test on a periodic basis - say once every year or two. No pass - no drive.

Of course the test should be reasonably comprehensive - and include the correct passing of bikes.
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby Summernight » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:48 am

exadios wrote:
petie wrote:Driving is a privilege. If you don't do it right, you lose the privilege. Pity our legislators and law makers don't see it that way and that there are too many votes in keeping the system the same.


Time for me to get my favorite hobby horse out, saddle her up and take her for a spin. In my view in order to drive all license holders should take, and pass, a test on a periodic basis - say once every year or two. No pass - no drive.

Of course the test should be reasonably comprehensive - and include the correct passing of bikes.


Just as long as it doesn't include parallel parking unless they give me a gap of about 10 metres to park in. :P
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Re: Driver caused cyclist's death: coroneri

Postby Ross » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:11 pm

exadios wrote:Time for me to get my favorite hobby horse out, saddle her up and take her for a spin. In my view in order to drive all license holders should take, and pass, a test on a periodic basis - say once every year or two. No pass - no drive.

Of course the test should be reasonably comprehensive - and include the correct passing of bikes.


There would be a lot less cars on the road if they implemented this as a lot of people would fail.
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