Sydney, NSW -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/12/2013 -- A man pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated dangerous driving causing death and one count of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm. Wright was sentenced to an overall sentence of imprisonment for 9 years 6 months with a non-parole period of 5 years and 9 months. Wright was also meted a penalty of disqualification from driving for 5 years. In the case of R v Wright  NSWCCA 82 he seeks to appeal the sentence imposed by Robison DCJ in the District Court at Grafton on 24 May 2012.
On January 5, 2011, at around 5:30 am, Wright drove from his home a vehicle with two passengers. In the rear passenger side seat of the vehicle was MBJ, a 14 year old girl who was living with the family of Wright on and off for four months before the offence. In the front passenger seat was the boyfriend of MBJ, CAM, a 16 year old boy.
During the journey, Wright pulled over to the left hand side of the highway and did a U-turn and traveled south along the highway with a speed that was estimated to be close to 200 kph. A motorist saw the vehicle lose control on a sweeping left hand bend, veered first on the wrong side of the road, then skidded sideways, and crashed through trees.
CAM died of multiple head injuries while MBJ and Wright sustained several serious injuries. Wright was found to have driven the vehicle by more than 45 kph over the speed limit and under the influence of intoxicating liquor, having in his blood a PCA of not less than 0.157 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
Wright raises two grounds in his Notice of Appeal which are that the sentencing judge confined the issue of Wright’s mental illness to the issue of moral culpability and that the sentence is manifestly excessive with respect to ground one or the sentence for the aggravated driving causing death.
Wright submitted that he had mental illness before and after the offense. He said that he had horrific childhood and referred to the report of a psychologist, Dr. Christopher Lennings, that he suffered from major depression, alcohol dependence and post traumatic disorder. He further argued that his serious mental illness calls for a softening of the importance of general deterrence and a reduction in penalty. However, the Court found that the penalty of imprisonment will not be more onerous for Wright because of his mental illness.
As for the second ground of appeal, the Court found that in imposing the sentence, Robison DCJ was mindful of Wright’s self-punishment and genuine remorse but was aware that his high level of culpability cannot be ignored. The Court also said that Wright’s “disgracefully irresponsible conduct is close to the worst type of offense of its kind.” Hence, the appeal was dismissed.
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