An international student accused of failing to stop at a Cardigan Village intersection, causing a two-vehicle collision that killed her friend, has argued she did not know she had to stop until it was too late.
Nasuha Nasser, 22, sought a sentence indication at the County Court in Ballarat on Thursday over the fatal crash at the Madden Road and Remembrance Drive intersection on November 24.
New leglislation states an accused person can prove there are substantial and compelling circumstances, that are exceptional and rare, to not impose imprisonment in addition to a community correction order.
Nasser's barrister, Paul D'Arcy, said there were a number of compelling circumstances included in the case for his client to be sentenced to a non-custodial sentence.
He said Nasser did not recognise the intersection's stop sign because there were no overhead lights and a hotel on the corner blocked her vision.
He said the deceased person was not wearing a seatbelt and there were no aggravating factors involved.
Mr D'Arcy said the Minister for Transport had recently said the Cardigan Village intersection was inherently dangerous and VicRoads had drawn plans to build a roundabout two years ago.
Between 2015 and 2018, 10 collisions occurred at the intersection which involved 18 injuries and one death, he told the court.
"This is low level offending of this type. The villain of the piece is this intersection," Mr D'Arcy said.
"This is not the case of someone deliberately running a red light or going through an intersection she knew to stop at.
"The issue here is she didn't know of her obligation until it was too late. She didn't know there was a stop sign there until it was too late."
Judge Gerard Mullaly said he had to deal with the sentencing principle.
"Here is a stop sign and all drivers have a responsibility ... to comply with baseline rules, to stop and let them go through," Judge Mullaly said.
"It's incumbent of those who use the roads to stop at a stop sign to avoid a collision."
Crown prosecutor David O'Doherty said Nasser failed to notice a warning sign 180 metres prior to the intersection.
"She says she looks to the right but doesn't look to the left. It's a case of her failing to keep a proper look out," Mr O'Doherty said.
Nasser, of Brunswick, was allegedly driving a blue Renault along Madden Road in Cardigan Village at 8.15pm on November 24, carrying four passengers.
Police allege she failed to stop at a T-intersection and collided with a white Triton travelling east on Remembrance Drive, carrying a 48-year-old man and his 10-year-old daughter.
Singaporean national Gwyneth Siying Lok died in The Alfred hospital four days after the crash. Other passengers, Yan Fei Ngoh, and Nasser's twin sister, Naimi Nasser, were seriously injured.
The group, which included Singaporean nationals visiting Nasser, were on their way home in a hire car after visiting in Halls Gap.
Nasser has pleaded not guilty to seven offences, including driving in a manner dangerous causing death, negligent driving causing serious injury, driving in a dangerous manner causing serious injury, careless driving and failing to stop and give way at a stop sign.
Judge Mullaly will decide the sentence indication in October in Melbourne.
Nasser's bail was extended with conditions she report to police once a week, live at a static address, not to leave Australia and not to drive a motor vehicle.