Former Ballarat Catholic priest Daniel Torpy deliberately crashes car into truck

File picture: Daniel Torpy.

File picture: Daniel Torpy.

A truck driver continues to suffer from the actions of a former Ballarat priest, who deliberately drove head-on into his vehicle a court heard.

Daniel Torpy, 71, was "acutely distressed" when he drove on the incorrect side of Old Melbourne Road at Dunnstown, crashing head-on into the truck on February 23, 2016 at 8.45am.

Through a victim impact statement read at the County Court in Ballarat on Thursday, the 47-year-old truck driver said he had not been able to work since the accident.

He said he suffered nightmares, flashbacks and post traumatic stress disorder, and required ongoing medical treatment.

"I don't know if I will have further long-term impacts on my life," the man said. He said he was unable to complete everyday tasks like mowing the lawn and would undergo neck surgery.

In sentencing, judge Gavan Meredith told Torpy his “victim suffered and continues to suffer as a result of your actions”. 

"I am satisfied your driving was deliberate," Judge Meredith said. “I commend (the victim) for having the peril of mind to take evasive action. This may have saved your life.”

The court was told at the time of the incident Torpy, 71, had been due to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat .

Barrister Ian Crisp told the court his client, a psychologist, became acutely distressed after seeing an inaccurate article on The Courier website.

"He is a calm, quiet individual. Because of the things that were said about him, it appeared to tip him over the edge," Mr Crisp said.

"Mr Torpy became distressed about the article and what others would think of him."

A psychiatrist described Torpy's reaction to the article as dramatic and self indulgent, the court was told.

Judge Meredith said he accepted Torpy became upset over the article and the distress it caused him. But he said his actions were at the upper end of the range as an example of this type of offending.

“While I find your manoeuvre to be deliberate, I’m unable to find it was planned and it was a response of the situation you were in at the time.”

Crown prosecutor Patrick Bourke said the prosecution called for a combination of immediate imprisonment and a community corrections order.

"This is a serious example of the offence," Mr Bourke said.

"(The victim) has come out of this worse physically than Mr Torpy has even though (the victim) was driving a great big truck."

Torpy was sentenced to a two-year community corrections order, which includes 150 hours of community work. His driver’s licence was suspended for nine months. Torpy pleaded guilty to reckless conduct endangering serious injury.

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