Student spared jail over fatal WA crash in Banjup

An Indian man who caused a crash that killed a tourist in Perth has been spared an immediate jail term. Amritpal Singh Sidhu (23) is pictured leaving court today. Photograph: Anton La Macchia
An Indian man who caused a crash that killed a tourist in Perth has been spared an immediate jail term. Amritpal Singh Sidhu (23) is pictured leaving court today. Photograph: Anton La Macchia

A TRUCK driver who was on a student visa when he killed a tourist in a Perth crash has avoided going to prison and instead been told by a judge to “make the best of life” as the victim would have wanted.

Amritpal Singh Sidhu (23) smashed into the back of a car in Banjup in September 2017, killing 66-year-old Gurbir Singh, who had been visiting family in Perth.

Mr Singh was a rear seat passenger in the car and two other relatives in the vehicle were also injured, the West Australian District Court heard on Thursday.

Judge Gillian Braddock said Sidhu, who is from India, was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Rather, he was “not paying sufficient attention”.

Defence counsel Seamus Rafferty said his client was remorseful, had remained at the scene and made admissions to police.

“He is utterly devastated,” Mr Rafferty said.

Judge Braddock noted Mr Singh, also from India, was passionate about education and voluntary social work in the community, providing a summer school for students.

His son said Mr Singh’s work lived on in his former students who were all over the world.

Judge Braddock took into consideration Sidhu’s youth and prior good record.

She also acknowledged Sidhu was otherwise regarded as a hardworking, respectful and responsible person.

“You’ll carry this, I’m sure, for the rest of your life.”

Judge Braddock said the sentencing was a difficult decision and she urged Sidhu to live the best life he could.

“I look at you and I see a young man remorseful, with potential and a future,” she said.

“Whilst it is not a relevant factor in the sentencing process, I am morally certain that the deceased, Mr Singh, would want to see you make the best of your life.”

Sidhu, who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

He will also be banned from driving for two years.

Sidhu refused to comment outside court.