Driver to appeal sentence for killing uni student and tow truck driver

Nanjing Night Net

A courier driver who killed a university student who had broken down on the Hume Highway and the tow truck driver who came to her aid is appealing his sentence.

Last week, Kaine Daniel Barnett was sentenced to a minimum 18 months jail after a jury found him guilty of two counts of dangerous driving causing death for killing Sarah Frazer, 23, and Geoffrey Clark, 40.

He was given a maximum three-year jail term.

Barnett crashed into and killed Ms Frazer, who was on her way to start university, and Mr Clark, of Highlands Towing, as they were standing in the breakdown lane of the Hume Highway in February 2012.

In an emotional scene in Parramatta District Court, Mr Frazer hugged Barnett and said he felt sorry for the 26-year-old and his family.

Barnett’s appeal will be mentioned in the same court on Friday. He will apply for bail pending the hearing of the appeal.

On hearing Barnett was appealing, Ms Clark said she was “shocked”.

“I thought it was a light sentence anyway. I and the children have now lived without Geoff for over two years and he got 18 months in jail and serves the rest on parole,” Ms Clark said.

“We got the sentence the rest of our lives and it’s a nightmare.

“He has never said what happened that day. Only he knows”.

In sentencing Barnett, Judge Stephen Hanley said he did not like sending a young man with no prior criminal history to jail, but he needed to send a message of deterrence to the public and particularly the drivers of heavy vehicles.

Dressed in a suit, Barnett wept and was comforted by family members and his de facto partner, Kayla, after the sentence was handed down.

He was then hugged by Ms Frazer’s father, Peter, and the two men wept together.

Ms Frazer was driving from her family home in Springwood to begin a degree in photography at Charles Sturt University when her car broke down on the Hume Highway at Berrima about 11am on February 15, 2012.

She waited in the narrow breakdown lane for about an hour before Mr Clark arrived to tow the car. The accident occurred on the Hume Highway about two kilometres south of Mittagong.

About 12.30pm, Barnett, a driver for his grandfather’s business, Barnetts Couriers, failed to see the car and truck, swerved at the last moment and clipped the side of the Ford before ploughing into Ms Frazer and Mr Clark, killing them instantly.

The Crown alleged Barnett must have been distracted for almost eight seconds to have missed the hazard and flashing lights on the side of the road.

During the trial, the court heard Ms Frazer’s broken-down Ford and Mr Clark’s tow truck would have been visible from between 250 and 300 metres away.

Judge Hanley said he did not accept the submission of Barnett’s counsel that the crash occurred due to a period of “momentary inattention”.

“The jury found the offender failed to keep a proper look out for a significant period of time,” the judge said. “His manner of driving [meant] a large number of people were placed at risk.”

The court heard Barnett was not speeding or affected by drugs or alcohol. Since the accident he has suffered from flashbacks, post-traumatic shock and has experienced suicidal thoughts.

Judge Hanley said he was unlikely to reoffend and his prospects of rehabilitation were excellent.

“Cases such as this are truly tragic,” he said.

“The lives of all who have been affected by these events will never be the same.”

Mr Frazer had publicly campaigned on issues of road safety since his daughter’s death.

Outside the court, Mr Clark’s wife, Samantha said: “While we recognise the endeavours of others to raise awareness of safety on our roads, we, as Geoff Clark’s family, have chosen for some time now not to be involved in any campaigns. We ask that our privacy be respected.

“Geoff was a loving and devoted husband and father. The care and well-being of his family was always paramount. Now I have to do this alone with the unwavering support of family and friends, for which I’m forever grateful.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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