Judge Clive Jeffreys Causes Outrage Again After Sentencing Killer Driver To Just 20 Month’s Jail
A JUDGE whose sentences have been repeatedly overturned by higher courts for being “manifestly inadequate” has again caused outrage by sentencing a hoon driver who killed his two young passengers to just 20 months in jail.
District Court Judge Clive Jeffreys has had five of his sentences increased on appeal since being appointed in 2011, including his sentence of serial paedophile Maurice Van Ryn, which was almost doubled by the Court of Criminal Appeal this year.
Another lenient sentence which left the families of the two young victims devastated has been found to be “manifestly inadequate” by the appeals court.
The families of victims Jake Isbister, 21, and Chloe Hardy, 17, described Judge Jeffreys’ sentence of driver Bo Barker, who was speeding in a ute when the vehicle lost control and plunged into an irrigation ditch, as a “kick in the guts”.
Victims of Crime Assistance League president Howard Brown said he was appalled and called for Judge Jeffreys to undertake further training with the Judicial Commission.
Barker, 29, a former bull rider, was speeding at 104km/h in a 60km/h zone with two passengers in the cab of the ute and another in the tray when his vehicle rolled and sank 2m into a ditch outside Leeton, in the NSW Riverina, on December 5, 2014.
None of the passengers in the cab were wearing seat belts and all were thrown from the vehicle as it rolled. Jake’s body was found in the water 5m from the rear of the ute while Chloe was thrown 10m away. A third passenger survived.
Barker pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death and one count of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and was sentenced by Judge Jeffreys to three years and two months with a non-parole period of 20 months.
The Crown appealed the sentence on the grounds it was “plainly unjust” and so far below the range of sentences that could justly be imposed that it was “likely to undermine public confidence in the proper administration of criminal justice in the sentencing of offenders”.
The CCA agreed the sentence was manifestly inadequate but the panel of three Justices decided not to increase Barker’s sentence because of a risk to his “already fragile mental state”.
It is a ruling difficult for Chloe’s mum Rebecca to accept. “We are all suffering depression, not just Bo. I suffer nightmares too because I picture Chloe in the vehicle rolling around and coming out of the windscreen. I can’t stop my nightmares,” Ms Hardy said.
Mr Brown said with the road toll in NSW at 287, 36 more than the same time last year, we needed to get serious about the road carnage by using general deterrence when sentencing dangerous drivers. “I believe that His Honour should be required to undertake further training,’’ he said.