Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Motorist L-plate Speeding, Drunk Learner Driver Jailed 4 1/2 years over death of back seat passenger Herald Sun 7.11.12

L-plate driver jailed over death of back seat passenger 

Georgie Thring, 18, in 2012 Brighton East crash

A DRUNKEN learner driver who killed backseat passenger Georgie Thring after slamming into a tree has been jailed for at least two years.
Georgie Thring
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Ms Thring's father Gordon said his daughter was only in the car because she took on the role of peacemaker between the teenage driver - who had a blood alcohol reading of .153 - and another teenage male he was arguing with at a party.
County Court Judge Carolyn Douglas jailed the driver - who can't be named - for four and a half years and ordered that he serve a minimum of two years.
She recommended the Adult Parole Board consider transferring him to a Youth Justice Centre to serve his sentence as he would be "extremely vulnerable" in an adult jail.
Mr Thring read his victim impact statement in court and in it he accused prominent lawyer Rob Stary of insensitive and unethical behaviour in the way he defended the driver who killed his daughter.
He also criticised the teenage passenger in the car, who escaped charges and can also not be named, as being "morally responsible" for her death.
The passenger gave the keys to his car to the learner driver, who was 17 at the time, and allowed him to drive it.
Back-seat passenger Ms Thring, 18, died after the driver lost control while travelling on South Rd, Brighton East, about 11pm on January 26, and slammed into two trees between Welwyn and Letchworth avenues.
Evidence at the crash scene indicated the car was travelling at a minimum of 132km/h in a 70km/h zone.
Both teenage males walked away with minor injuries.
The Thrings were horrified that Mr Stary wrote to them to try to set up a face-to-face meeting between them and their daughter's killer.
Within minutes of being taken from the care of her friends she was dying in a car - from injuries inflicted by the mindless and lethally reckless behaviour of (the driver)
Mr Stary's client list has included some of the most infamous criminals in Australia, including Carl Williams and Tony Mokbel, and he represented some of the terrorists convicted in 2008 over a plot to bomb Australia.
"I can't believe the callous insensitivity of three weeks prior to the court proceedings the defendant's solicitors writing unsolicited and unexpectedly to the victim's family suggesting a friendly chat with the killer to discuss the circumstances of the killing of our daughter," Mr Thring told the court.
"Angela could have been suicidal and I could have come home to a dead spouse next to a bottle of sleeping pills. 'Fortunately', it was only a spouse so frozen on a couch she couldn't move to eat.
"So why did they act in such an opportunistic, callous and unethical manner - in the vernacular, in a sheer act of bastardry?
"In a nihilistic, amoral rush to win at all costs, they were prepared to risk further destroying my family. They simply didn't care.
"I'm also concerned to ensure such a practice is not repeated by Mr Stary. Otherwise some victim's family will come home to a mother dead next to a bottle of pills.
"Mr Stary needs to understand that his conduct is inappropriate, insensitive, unethical and lacks bona fides."
Mr Stary yesterday denied doing anything unethical or insensitive.
"I am not going to be critical of them because they are grieving, but whatever has occurred has always occurred in good faith," he said.
"Our client went to the family very early in the piece with a letter of apology.
"The family wrote back and said we would like to hear a couple of things, one of which included an explanation for what had occurred and how it occurred, a further explanation.
"And the second was that the client participate in a road trauma awareness course.
"He tried to do both things. He sought to enrol in the road trauma awareness course and then he sought to provide a full explanation to the family about what had occurred.
"We simply acted on their request.
"We thought we would write directly to the family because often the grief you hear the family express at the court is the grief that there has been no apology or no attempt to reach out to them.
"I understand their distress, but whatever occurred was done in completely good faith. To suggest anything was done in bad faith is completely incorrect.''
Mr Thring said there were many aspects of the behaviour of the driver and the passenger that continued to torture him, adding that his daughter, 18, had told partygoers she left the Australia Day party to walk to the passenger's nearby home.
"But within minutes of being taken from the care of her friends she was dying in a car - from injuries inflicted by the mindless and lethally reckless behaviour of (the driver),'' he said.
"(The passenger) was touting his keys around all evening. First to be driven to a 7-Eleven and then to have the car he brought to the party driven back to his home.
"All of (the driver's) peers knew to refuse, some even taking (the passenger's) keys from him so he could not have his car driven - all but (the driver).
"The statistics show that young male adults like (the driver) are the over represented perpetrators of killing by culpable driving.
"What gives males like (the driver) the idea that they have the right, in order to selfishly satisfy their egos, to behave in a reckless fashion so as to kill innocent people like my daughter?
"What, as a parent, I also can't understand is that the person who brought his car to the party, actively encouraging others to drive suit his purposes, can bear no responsibility."
In sentencing, Judge Douglas said she was taking into account the contents of 50 victim impact statements, including those of Mr and Mrs Thring.
"The contents of the victim impact statements reflect the fragility of life in that within a very short time a young person was killed senselessly,'' Judge Douglas said.
"The (statements also) reflect the enormous amount of grief suffered by the loss of Georgie Thring who was not only a young person who had enormous potential, as her focus was to make the world a better place, but also a person who was selfless and helped others.
"Her concern had been for those without voices, namely, people in poverty in this country and overseas; and animals."
Judge Douglas said the driver arrived at the party, which was being held at a friend's place and had no adult supervision, with a slab of beer about 12.30pm.
"His parents were away at the time and not home when the party was held, so there was no adult supervision at all before or during the party,'' she said.
"He told his parents that there would be 'about 10 lads' coming around, but that was not correct as he had invited about 30 friends through his Facebook page.
"You and the others were drinking alcohol and enjoying yourselves from the time you arrived until shortly before you got into the car and drove," she told the driver.
"You made the decision to drive knowing not only that you did not hold a driver's licence but that you had been drinking alcohol over a long time, namely for most of the time that you had been at your friend's home.
"You arrived around 12.30pm and left around 10.30pm. A short time later, your blood alcohol reading was .153. This is about three times the legal limit for the holder of a full driver's licence.
"Further, the law provides that the prescribed concentration of alcohol for drivers who do not hold a full licence is any concentration of alcohol present in the blood or breath, namely a triple zero reading.
"So you were 15 times that limit."
Ms Thring, a former Firbank Grammar student from Brighton, wanted to be a vet and was about to start studying at Melbourne University.

Georgie Thring, 18, killed in horrific smash at Brighton East

Brighton East crash
UPDATE 5pm: A TEEN who dreamed of going to university will never have the chance after she was killed when a car driven by an L-plate friend hit a tree.
Georgie Thring
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Talented student Georgie Thring, 18, was set to start an arts degree at Melbourne University with her two best friends in less than a month.
But her life was tragically cut short when the car she was in veered off the road in Brighton East on yesterday night.
Shocked family and friends were yesterday struggling to cope with the tragedy.
Dozens gathered at Ms Thring's home to remember the fun-loving teen. Others visited the crash scene to leave flowers and pay their respects.
Ms Thring was a back-seat passenger in a car with two friends when it crashed on South Rd about 11pm.
The car was being driven by a 17-year-old male friend, while another 18-year-old male was also in the car.
Her death was one of 23 on Victorian roads already this year, nine more than this time last year.
Witnesses said it was unclear how the tragedy unfolded but said they believed speed to be a factor.
Family friend Peter Mowson said his daughter Chloe was best friends with Ms Thring since they started primary school together.
The former Firbank Grammar students were expected to start university together in less than a month.
''They graduated last year and were very excited about uni, they were best friends,'' he said.
Mr Mowson said Ms Thring had been a star pupil and an exceptional athlete.
''She was a great girl, a good basketball player and very popular among the girls,'' he said.
''Everyone knows everyone around here and we're all in shock, we just can't believe it. None of the girls are doing any good.''
One woman, Madeleine, said she rushed to the scene, a block from her home, when she heard ''screeching tyres and then a massive bang''.
''The seats were trashed, the tree went through the car. It was just devastating,'' she said.
Madeleine, who is trained in first aid, said Ms Thring was being treated by a passerby but died at the scene.
''I looked after the boys to make sure they were OK. The driver was covered in blood,'' she said.
''They were both distraught. One of them was just mortified. The other couldn't bring himself to speak,'' she said.
Police are investigating the collision and will prepare a report for the coroner.

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