Guilty verdict in Sargent case

Guilty: Teenager Gemma Sargent has been found guilty of culpable driving causing death and negligent driving causing serious injury.
Guilty: Teenager Gemma Sargent has been found guilty of culpable driving causing death and negligent driving causing serious injury.

Gemma Sargent, the teenager at the centre of the New Year’s car crash in which a young man lost his life, has been found guilty of two charges in the County Court. 

Sargent was found guilty of culpable driving causing death, and negligently causing serious injury.

The accused stood ashen-faced and tearful as the majority verdict was delivered.

Earlier the jury deliberated for seven-and-a-half hours without decision.

Judge Montgomery warned the jurors of their duty, saying:

“I have the power to dismiss you if I am not satisfied you will reach a unanimous decision.”

He said he would accept a majority decision if a unanimous one was not reached.

Sargent was held in remand for later sentencing.

On December 31, 2015 Sargent,19, was involved in a single car crash on Buninyong-Mercer Road in which 19-year-old Nathaniel Merritt-Price was killed. 

Sargent was later found to be driving the car and was charged with four counts including culpable driving, dangerous driving causing death, negligently causing serious injury and dangerous driving causing serious injury.

While she initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, a jury found her guilty after a four-day trial at the County Court in Ballarat. 

The jury  heard from a number of witnesses during the trial including the car’s three surviving passengers and the family of the deceased.