Driver fined $350 over crash that killed man in wheelchair

Driver fined $350 over crash that killed man in wheelchair

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A grieving mother whose son was hit and killed by a car says she’s been deprived of the chance to tell the driver the harm that was done.

Jason Edwards, 40, who used a wheelchair, was on his way to the pub in February 2022, when he was hit by a car pulling out of a service station on Brighton Road in Adelaide.

The case went through the courts on a minor charge, meaning it wasn’t mandatory that the victim’s family have a say. His mother, Jan, says the resulting fine of just $350 feels like justice denied.

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The driver admitted she was acting without due care, an aggravated offence because someone was hurt.

But when it came time for Jason’s family to deliver a victim impact statement to the court last week, the magistrate declined to hear it.

“I’m angry, cross. Angry and bewildered, I just don’t understand,” Edwards said. 

In the higher courts there are safeguards to ensure victims get their say, however, they don’t exist in the Magistrates Court.

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Edwards has been pushing state parliament to enact a law that would make it mandatory for victims to have a voice.

She believes it would have been important for the driver and others to hear how grave the consequences of inattentive driving can be.

“[The driver] has no idea how we feel, but in court that day we had to sit through how she coped,” she said.

Edwards said the driver walked away with only a $350 fine.

“His death meant nothing in the justice system really,” she said.

“It means everything to us.”

Edwards said she wanted to see tougher penalties enforced for inattentive driving.

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“We need to emphasise that it is a privilege to drive on our roadways, and if you violate that privileged then you will be punished,” she said. 

A spokesperson for the attorney-general told 9News laws regarding victims’ rights in court were under review.

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