Nephew’s death will ‘haunt me forever’
A P-PLATE driver who crashed into a ute, killing a 15-year-old boy, walked from a Gold Coast court yesterday.
The 18-year-old lost his licence for six months and was placed on a 12-month restorative justice order. No conviction was recorded.
The sedan he was driving last year collided with a ute carrying a mother and her children. One of the three passengers in the teenager's car could not be saved.
The driver, 17 at the time of the crash, was charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing the death of his friend.
However, the charge was downgraded by the prosecution to driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road.
Both the driver and the boy who lost his life cannot be named because of legal restrictions, against the wishes of the victim's heartbroken family.
The Gold Coast Bulletin and other media outlets were barred from entering the court, despite making applications before Magistrate Kay Philipson in the Southport Children's Court, arguing reporting the case was in the public interest.
Outside court, an aunty of the dead boy - one of the first people on the scene - said the images of her mortally injured nephew will "haunt me forever".
She said she was "disappointed" with the sentence, but urged other drivers to learn the lesson and not be distracted on the road.
The aunty, who was the only member of the victim's family allowed into the courtroom, said she felt the offender has "more rights than my family does".
"Every single night I can't sleep," she said. "I have flashbacks of the accident and our lives have just been shattered forever.
"I originally was told (my nephew) had a broken leg and a possible broken jaw and when I arrived at the scene I was completely not prepared for what I saw that day. (His) injuries were just horrific and I was actually taken away.
"I sat with (him) in the car for some time and was taken away by ambulance and my husband stayed by (my nephew's) side until he passed away."
She described her nephew as "the most vibrant, vivacious kid that you would ever meet" and a talented musician.
On the morning of the crash she took her nephew to audition for "his first opportunity in a band" and he "absolutely smashed that", before they went out for sushi to celebrate.
"Four hours later he was killed," she said.
"I'm really disappointed (with the sentence). We've all seen the fatalities that have happened on the roads since (my nephew) was killed.
"I want people to walk away from this realising whatever the circumstance don't be distracted. Just be safe and consider other road users."