Fatal crash driver gets more than two years jail

The scene of the April 13, 2015, crash at Cardigan.
The scene of the April 13, 2015, crash at Cardigan.

UPDATE, MARCH 17, 2017: A 29-year-old Ballarat man who crashed into and killed a motorcyclist on Cuthberts Road has been jailed for two and a half years.

Greg James Elliot, who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, returned to the County Court on Friday for sentencing.

During sentencing of the matter, Judge Michael McInerney told the court while it gave no judge any pleasure in jailing someone, he had determined a term of imprisonment was warranted in this case.

Judge McInerney said it was the accused's lack of diligence that resulted in the death of motorcyclist Mark Wilson.

Mr Wilson was travelling west on Cuthberts Road around 4.30pm on April 13, 2015 when he was hit by Elliott who failed to give way properly at the Whites Road intersection.

Mr Wilson died at the scene.

Judge McInerney said it was vital drivers remained vigilant when driving on gravel country roads such as Whites Road.

"He (Elliott) should have made diligent observations of the road," he said.

"He missed a motorcyclist with its headlights on."

When sentencing, Mr McInerney said there were a number of factors he needed to take into account, including Elliott's remorse and lack of offending over the past seven years.

He added that he found Elliott's moral culpability at the higher end of the lowest range of seriousness.

The court previously heard on the day of the incident Elliott had looked left and right before entering the intersection before feeling "a big bang".

An analysis of the scene revealed the accused hit the victim at approximately 69km/h, but it also further acknowledged the accused could have stopped in time if he had slowed down further when entering the intersection.

Elliott's lawyer, Glenn Casement, told the court no drugs, alcohol or hoonish behaviour was involved.

Mr Casement said his client carried the grief with him from the day which had also affected his family.

Elliott will be eligible for parole in eight months time.

He was also fined $147.61 after pleading guilty to the summary offence of failing to display P plates.

Judge McInerney also cancelled Elliott's licence and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.

MARCH 7, 2017: A 29-year-old Ballarat man who was behind the wheel of the car which crashed into and killed a motorcyclist at Cardigan failed to give way, a court has heard.

Greg James Elliott, of Stanley Street, appeared before the Ballarat County Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving causing death.

The court heard Elliott was travelling north on Whites Road when he approached the intersection of Cuthberts Road, failed to give way properly and hit motorcyclist Mark Wilson who was travelling west on Cuthberts Road at the time.

Mr Wilson died at the scene of the incident which occurred at 4.30pm on April 13, 2015.

Elliott told police he looked left and right before entering the intersection.

"I couldn't see anyone," he told police. "I went and felt a big bang."

A Crown prosecutor said an analysis of the scene revealed the accused was travelling no less than 41km/h when he entered the intersection and hit the victim at approximately 69km/h.

The prosecutor told the court the analysis also revealed if the accused had slowed down further he could have stopped in time and the crash may not have occurred.

Although he said the speed and manner Elliott approached the intersection was dangerous, the accused's level of moral culpability could be determined as low-range.

Prosecution has argued a term of imprisonment was warranted.

Elliott's barrister, Glenn Casement, disagreed, submitting a community corrections order could be an appropriate sentence.

He told the court there was no speed, alcohol, drugs or "hoonish" behaviour involved.

"What ever looking he did was tragically inadequate," Mr Casement said.

He said Elliott had never sought to shift the blame and had carried the grief with him from that day.

He added there were strong prospects of rehabilitation for his client who had not reoffended since the incident and had since written a letter of apology to the victim's family.

But, with a full-time job and mortgage, Mr Casement said there were some "tragic" consequences that would impact on Elliott's family if he was jailed.

Judge Michael McInerney adjourned sentencing until March 15 while a community corrections order assessment can be completed.

But he said the assessment did not determine what would occur when the matter returned to court next week.

Elliott faces a minimum of 18 months off the road.