Accused drove through an intersection in red light and collided with another vehicle
On 8 April 2007, accused drove through an intersection, against the red light. He accelerated immediately before entering the intersection. He collided with a vehicle which was turning right, across his path, as it was entitled to do following the change of lights.
The front seat passenger in the other vehicle was killed. The driver was seriously injured.The accused was charged with one count of culpable driving causing death and one count of negligently causing serious injury. He pleaded not guilty to both counts.
After a trial in the County Court, he was acquitted of the charged counts and found guilty of the alternative counts of dangerous driving causing death (DDCD) and dangerous driving causing serious injury (DDCSI). The total effective sentence was imprisonment for 3 years and 6 months.
The accused appealed and contended mitigating factors to reduce the sentence. The Court of Appeals ruled otherwise. It stated that entering an intersection against a red light is a very serious offending. The degree of dangerousness of the applicant’s driving was to be assessed by reference to the extent of the risk which it created.
The extent of the risk includes both the likelihood that something will go wrong, and the extent of the harm which will result if it does. In this case, accelerating through a red light created a grave risk of very serious harm.
Considering the death of one victim and serious injury of another, the judge ruled imprisonment is a just punishment and general deterrence requires it. Accused was not entitled to a discount for pleading guilty as he contested the charges. He did not express remorse or accepted responsibility for his conduct. The sentence was affirmed for being reasonable.
Source: Pesa v The Queen  VSCA 109 (4 June 2012)
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.