Mandatory minimum sentence is needed

Catherine Roberts, seen here delivering the eulogy at her father Martin’s funeral, says further tightening of WA’s road laws is needed. Picture: Marcus Whisson        
Mandatory minimum sentence is needed
Catherine Roberts, seen here delivering the eulogy at her father Martin’s funeral, says further tightening of WA’s road laws is needed. Picture: Marcus Whisson        

While it was good that stiffer penalties were in place, said Catherine Roberts, the government needed to shift its focus.

�The State Government should not be looking at what the maximums should be, they should be determining minimum sentences,� she said.

Ms Roberts said it was about time the Government started doing something about WA�s road laws, which were so behind other States.

Changes were made to the Act earlier this month by the State Government to impose punishments more in line with community expectations.

Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey said a new offence of careless driving causing death, grievous bodily harm and bodily harm would give courts the ability to jail offenders.

�Currently the maximum penalty for careless driving where a person is killed or seriously injured is a $600 fine which is completely inadequate and not in line with community expectations,� she said.

�The lack of an adequate penalty for this offence has been expressed by the State Coroner, a senior magistrate and the general public.�

The maximum penalty for the new offence would be three years in prison and/ or a $36,000 fine.

Other changes included licence disqualification beginning after a prison term was served and blood alcohol limit imposed on supervisors of L-plate drivers below 0.05.

Ms Roberts, whose father was killed by drunk driver Michael Craig Burvill, who is serving a four-year jail sentence, said the changes were minor and would not deter careless drivers.

�It is a good thing that this allows the courts to put these penalties in place, but unfortunately the maximums are still so low so the chances of a maximum actually being given I imagine would also be very low,� she said.

�If you kill someone through your own fault, you should go to jail hands down for at least a minimum of five years.

�And that five years is separate from the other offences if there is any.�

Ms Roberts said until drastic changes were made to penalties and minimums put in place, people were going to continue to die and get hurt by drivers who know they can get away with it because of �flimsy� road laws.