The family of Wangaratta’s Roberta “Bobbie” Brown is devastated they were not given a voice in the court hearing which ended with the driver responsible for the crash that killed her being released from jail on appeal.
Her husband Peter has called for a review into the court appeal system so victims’ families can be heard in the process.
He had not seen her crossing the road on foot at traffic lights at the intersection of Ryley and Warby streets when his truck crashed into her on January 16, 2017.
Judge Michael McInerney initially sentenced Bell to jail, saying his inattention “involved a serious breach of obligation as a driver”.
But that has been overruled by Supreme Court Justices Phillip Priest and David Ashley, who found the jail sentence was “manifestly excessive” and instead handed down a two-year community correction order.
“The judge erred in characterising the objective gravity of the offending and the appellant’s moral culpability in the way which he did,” they said in their judgement.
“When the circumstances of the fatal incident were properly analysed, this was a true case of momentary inattention, where the appellant’s moral culpability was low.”
Mr Brown and his children had read out their victim impact statements during what was a very emotional plea hearing in the County Court.
They were not able to take part in the Supreme Court process, where justices instead read their submissions on paper rather than hearing them in person.
“What was the point in going through all that procedure here? I’m not understanding it,” Mr Brown said.
“We had no say in it whatsoever.
“We’re absolutely devastated and disappointed and it’s so much disrespect to what actually happened.”
He said it was not right the families of victims are not taken into consideration and continued to be hurt by the court appeal process.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here