Outrage over sentence for traffic controller death
THE sentence handed down to a Sunshine Coast man who killed a traffic controller when he drove almost 100km/h over the speed limit should be appealed, say the Opposition and his grieving family.
Aron Duffy, 48, was last month sentenced by District Court Judge David Andrews to six years' jail for killing Ken Altoft but will be eligible for parole in November 2019.
He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death while speeding and leaving the scene without obtaining help.
Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki has now written to the Government, calling on Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath to appeal the sentence on the grounds it was manifestly inadequate.
Duffy had alcohol in his system when he hit and killed Mr Altoft, 56, as he worked as a traffic controller on the Bruce Highway at Tanawah in November 2017 but the court found he was not adversely affected at the time of the crash.
He ignored signage alerting drivers to road works and continued to speed despite the 110km/h speed limit dropping to 60km/h.
Duffy struck Mr Altoft at 154km/h before driving 500m down the road and getting out of the car.
He returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.01 per cent and tested positive for drugs, but Judge Andrews found he wasn't intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Mr Altoft was a well-known cyclist and motorbike rider in the Sunshine Coast community.
The Courier-Mail understands local police are incensed by the decision handed down in the case.
Mr Janetzki said in the letter an appeal would "send a clear message to all road users that excessive speeding and drink or drug-driving in road works zones will not be tolerated on Queensland roads".
"The safety of the community is paramount and we always need to ensure victims and their families come first," he said.
Mr Altoft's family said they have also written to Ms D'Ath about the sentence after being told by prosecutors it would not be appealed.
The 56-year-old's niece Nicole Rutledge told The Courier-Mail the act of taking her uncle's life deserved a longer non-parole period than eligibility for release next year.
"The sentence and the parole period was certainly not reflective of the life lost and it also isn't a deterrent to others," she said.
"The judge found he was clear minded and not affected by drugs or alcohol so he made the decision to drive that fast in an area where he knew people would be.
"We have been passionately pushing for the sentence to be overturned because it's serious offending and it should be taken seriously."