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Double fatal driver shown 'significant lenience'

Lismore Court House in Zadoc Street.
Lismore Court House in Zadoc Street. Marc Stapelberg

A "CARING", "respectful" and "hard working" man will likely be spared jail for his role in a heartbreaking crash which killed two young people, after a District Court judge ruled he and his community had suffered enough in the "wholly tragic" case.

The 22-year-old Woodenbong man, who cannot be named, was behind the wheel of his unregistered Nissan 300ZX high performance coupe on September 22 last year when it crashed, killing two of his four passengers and seriously injuring himself and another.

The driver had been warned by a local police officer and several others not to use the unregistered car because it had no seats or seatbelts.

The roughly 10km return trip along Mount Lindesay Rd was almost safely completed, until a possum ran across the road when the car was travelling the speed limit of 100kmh.

Swerving to avoid it, the driver braked and skidded the car into an embankment and all five occupants were ejected from the car.

Two later died in hospital.

The man subsequently faced two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death before the Lismore District Court.

Delivering her final sentence yesterday, District Court Judge Dina Yehia said she was satisfied the driver was genuinely and deeply remorseful, and there was "no doubt" the man would live with the guilt and shame of his actions "for the rest of his life".

She noted that the victim's parents had also shown an "extraordinary amount of compassion" to the offender. They recognised him as "part of the fabric of their community" and did not want to see him suffer further punishment.

She said an intensive corrections order, which involves strictly supervised community service and rehabilitation, showed a "significant degree of lenience" but was in her view appropriate.

The driver will undergo a formal assessment for an intensive corrections order and the result will be heard in Lismore District Court on February 9.

Topics:  fatal crash lismore court northern rivers court woodenbong


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