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Any way of appealing the courts sentence of an at fault driver? [QLD]

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by WILDB, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. On the 3rd of August I was riding home from work when a driver turned across my path into his driveway at the last moment. The driver of the other car saw me and had stopped but decided to turn across my path into his driveway when I was about 5m away. I was doing the speed limit at the time (80km/h) and got a bit of braking in, but at that point it was too late.

    My left wrist and leg were broken on impact - my leg in 4 places. I had to have surgery to install a rod in my tibia to stabilize the fracture.

    The at fault driver was disqualified driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle which he had fitted with false plates.

    The driver didn't offer any assistance at the scene nor show any concern or remorse for what he had done and infact I heard him say "all this for a bike" when the emergency services were attending to me.

    Now before I go into what he was charged with, I'll point out that I haven't been able to work since the accident and I still can't walk due to the severity of the fratures - my wrist has healed but my leg is :censored:

    The driver was charged with the following offenses:
    - Failing to give way (I feel it should have been a greater charge than this)
    - Driving while disqualified
    - Driving an unregistered vehicle
    - Driving an uninsured vehicle
    - Attaching false numberplates

    For all of the above charges he recieved a 6 month suspension (the court squashed his current disqualification) and an $800 fine.

    I believe the sentence he recieved is an absolute joke and I was wondering if there is a means of appealing the courts decision?

    Any advice would be appreciated,
    Cheers, Will.
  2. While I traditionally loathe person vs person lawsuits, his being found guilty on some of those charges (most importantly failing to give way) should open the door for a civil lawsuit I imagine.

    That having been said, the "justice" system doesn't seem interested in doling out proper punishment for truly dangerous things, just speeding.
  3. There are ways to appeal to the DPP who can then appeal the case.
    A civil suit is probably a non starter but I'd speak to a local solicitor.
  4. I don't think it's likely you'll find any satisfaction through the courts.
  5. The problem is that the injuries you received are considered minor by the courts, if you were paralyzed then a solicitor would take your case, but because you were 'lucky' enough to only break a few bones and mostly recover then it is not worth their time.

    I broke my leg (dorsal fibula) and hand (fifth meta-carpal) when a lady in a mercedes opened her door on me as I was passing by, I tried a solicitor but my injuries were too minor for them to consider a case. Two months off work and she didn't even get charged by the police because they didn't write a report at the scene (I had to file a report later for the TAC (Victoria) to pay for my hospital bills).
  6. Chances are the driver's got no money, hence the false plates. No point spending money chasing him. Been there, done that, court ordered mine to pay $10 a week (she was unemployed) in 1982 and I'm still waiting for the first instalment!
  7. You could petition the DPP to appeal the sentence, but sadly (for what ever reason) the charges he was convicted on are pretty minor. Still, there is room for a harsher sentence to be imposed.

    I think the biggest problem will be convincing the DPP to actually appeal, sorry to be negative, but I don't think they will see the return on the time and money costs involved in an appeal (though I am sure you do!), unless they already are of the mind that the sentence was woefully inadequate and should be appealed. If you are going to try to convince them, however, I would emphasise your suffering from the incident, the other drivers behaviour at the scene and subsequently (including a lack of remorse). It would be lovely to try to chase him with new charges, but alas, he has been convicted and the rules of jeopardy are only really challenged in rare circumstances.

    Sadly you are likely right, which makes the alternative route (a civil suit to recover damages) a likely futile exercise. On the flip side, if you don't really care about money, a successful civil suit may force him to declare bankruptcy, which while little benefit to you will pretty much screw him up for a while (and some people get a lot of satisfaction over watching the bank another person's house - schardenfraude I believe). Each to their own I guess.

    Keep in mind that a civil suit would likely be expensive (unless you are brave enough to represent yourself, which rarely ends well, or know someone who will do it pro-bono, very very rare for traffic matters).
  8. Ring your highest rating shock jock with your plight and law and orders abysmal attempts, they eat this stuff up, anything to attack the government ,
    Sadly in this country media hysteria seems your best chance of any satisfaction from beuracracy
  9. Mate as a person who has a bit to do with the court system, that is a pretty good result these days. I'm by no way saying it's good but it is more than most get in Vic.
    Hope the leg heals.
  10. I was under the impression that driving on a disqualified licence was subject to two years disqualified.

    You could try for a dangerous driving resulting in injury appeal in which case he could get a minimum sentence of 6 months and (I think it's somewhere around) a 10k fine...

    I say you try and get him for that. You said that he didn't offer any assistance at the scene and said "all this for a bike" as you were being carted away. That won't help his case at all if he decides to try for not guilty.

    Talk to a solicitor though. That's your best bet.
  11. Thanks for your response

    I thought that was the case also.

    I'll have a chat with a friend whos a solicitor and get some advice from him.
  12. Sorry to hear about this - I had a driver perform an illegal uturn in front of me in September (on the netrider kilcoy ride) which resulted in a fractured tibial plateau and a bunch of other things. I've been off work for 8 weeks now, and am just starting back at work, getting around with a walking stick.

    The police are still investigating my case (see https://netrider.net.au/forums/showthread.php?t=107034&page=1) but i have had little joy getting them to even consider charging the driver with anything other than performing an illegal u-turn. I have made a bit of progress, by way of submitting a ministerial. This was referred to the superintendant of traffic, who i have been able to have a fairly rational conversation with. As a result he is pushing the investigating officer for a more thorough investigation. His opinion was that, if anything, the driver *might* be charged with driving without due care and attention. Dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm was completely out of the question according to him, despite the wording of s328a which seems to fit quite nicely.

    The initial response i got from the investigating officer and his supervisor was that they could only charge him with what he had done (performing an illegal uturn). after some pushing, they basically admitted that, while driving without due care and attention might fit, they needed to be able to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, which was too hard for a 'minor' accident. They also basically said "he didn't mean it, so he shouldn't be punished". my response of "well my broken leg doesn't care that he didn't mean it" wasn't taken well.

    Luckily, the vehicle that hit me was registered, so I am taking legal action against the CTP insurer for personal damages. I'm not sure how keen lawyers would be to take on your case on a 'no win no pay' basis since there is no CTP insurance, but it would be worth talking to some in any case. I know my medical/rehab costs would probably be up around $7-8k by now, not including lost income. I can recommend "Queensland Compensation Lawyers" who are handling my case - very good to deal with.

    if you want to chat further feel free to pm me and i'll give you my phone number. I'm sure a lot of others will say "just forget about it and get on with your life", but I understand the need to see the perpertrator charged appropriately, especially in your case. The guy who hit me has shown a complete disregard for my welfare, and has a view that he did absolutely nothing wrong (when in fact the police believe he was 100% at fault). This really gets to me, and i want to make sure he realises just how much he ****ed up, and the extent of the impact on my life he has made. Only if this happens can I have any hope that traffic police and the justice system is actually there to reduce the likelihood of this sort of thing happening again, rather than just being a revenue raising farce.

  13. I can't offer up any words of wisdom apart from what has been suggested already. What a sucky situation this d*ck has put you in.

    All the best with whatever avenue you decide to pursue. Including torching his car. ;)
  14. This is ****ed. If you ride you bike too quick you can go to jail. Perform an illegal move that actually results in a life changing injury, then you get a disqualification and a fine? Something is very wrong with our system.