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Mother of dead cyclist disappointed with short penalty for drink driver

The mother of Tanya Roneberg is inconsolable despite that the driver who ran down and killed her daughter was sentenced to imprisonment. Sharon Roneberg remembers her daughters as fit, clever, fiercely loyal and beautiful. Tanya Roneberg was 37 years old at the time of her death.

Lewis David Morgan, 20 years old, a P-plate driver had 0.076 blood alcohol concentration when he struck and killed Sharon  Roneberg, who was changing her bike tire at the side of the road.

The night before the incident Morgan was partying with his friends and downed 15 rum and colas. Then Morgan fell asleep for five and a half hours. The following morning, he drove from Cairns to Holloway Beach on Captain Cook Highway, and it was there that his car veered hitting Tanya.

In Queensland, the Criminal Code provides that a person convicted of dangerous driving resulting to death may be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

Under Section 328A of the Criminal Code Queensland, being adversely affected by an intoxicating substance raises the penalty for dangerous driving resulting to death. So, if the driver whose dangerous driving caused death is found to have alcohol content in his blood the penalty that could be imposed by the court could reach up to 14 years. 

Morgan did not anymore contest the charge when he appeared before the Cairns District Court but pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death. During the sentencing, Judge Brian Harrison said that Tanya’s death should serve as a warning for drivers to think first before driving on the morning after a night out.

Upon imposing the penalty, Judge Harrison took into account Morgan’s cooperation with the authorities, remorse for what happened, his lack of criminal history and the fact that he entered an early guilty plea. Judge Harrison admonished Morgan saying “You shouldn’t have been driving in the first place from what had transpired from the night before.”

Morgan was sentenced to three and half years of jail time which is to be suspended after 12 months. He also lost his license for four years which means that he won’t be able to drive for the same period.

Sharon Roneberg was in court during the sentencing, and she was supported by her husband and son.  The family of Tanya felt relieved that the court proceedings were over, but they were also obviously disappointed with the short sentence imposed on Morgan. Sharon said, “Tanya was given a death sentence, and we’ve been given a life sentence.” Tanya’s father, Geoff, said, “There will never be closure.”

This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice.

Source of news article:

Fraser, Cleo. 2014, May 22. Retrieved from

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.

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