Car Story - tragic

Submitted: Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:29
ThreadID: 104818 Views:3800 Replies:3 FollowUps:25
This Thread has been Archived
Gentle Folk,

I have just viewed the ABC program 4 Corners( 21-Oct-2013). I would recommend that, if possible, you watch this tragedy unfold.. I'm sure this program will be aired again.

Regards,

Jerry.

Back Expand Un-Read 1 Moderator

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:26

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:26
The repeat is on ABC 21 tomorrow at 11.30 PM.

It's about the kid that ran over two sleepers in the early morning and killed them. He knew he was over the prescribed alcohol limit so he wanted to get home before the police patrols were on the road.

You can watch it on ivew - Link. - expires in 13 days time - File size 225 MB
PeterD
Retired radio and electronics technician

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 520151

Reply By: Ron N - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:37

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:37
I don't think an ABC "investigative journalism" programme is going to unfold much more than what has already been unfolded - particularly by the coroner.

The accident, whilst exceptionally tragic, was in a paddock, on private property, and the laws covering road vehicles on public roads, don't apply. Road Traffic laws do not apply to private property in numerous States.

What the tragedy does reflect, is poor parental supervision of partying teenagers - when they must have known full well, that alcohol, vehicles, and all-out partying, was involved in the teenagers get-together.
Add all those factors together with no adult supervision or structured control for the partying, sleeping arrangements, or vehicle rules - and the tragedy was inevitable.

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2013/10/21/3871352.htm
AnswerID: 520152

Follow Up By: cookie1 - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 07:47

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 07:47
Incorrect, the first officers on the scene deemed the area Publicly available given the number of cars and the open driveway - they do have this power. The Detective later switched it back to deeming it private property thus no Road Rules applied - even the Superintendent saw this as an "OVERSIGHT".

Me thinks it was because it was a coppers son and an inquiry should be held into improper police procedures with the potential for demotion.

only my thought for this horrific event, I can't begin to image the horror given we quite often sleep in swags

cheers
1
FollowupID: 800566

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:00

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:00
Whilst the motor traffic regulations may not apply, the laws of the land still does not allow someone to kill others.
PeterD
Retired radio and electronics technician

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 800571

Follow Up By: Herbal - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:07

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:07
I will second that motion...Private property means nothing. The road rules DO still apply.

The police (and some council officers) have what is called Discretionary Powers. If a given situation does not have a specific Law that applies, then a police officer has the authority to more or less invent a Law to suit...This authority is granted by parliament.

As an example. One of the most common times a Police officer will use this authority is noise complaints. Most areas have time zones for noise, here in the Shoalhaven it is midnight to 8am. Outside these times there is no law about noise. But if I have my music up load at say 2pm no one can tell me or ask me to turn it down. But a Police Officer can come along and say "in my opinion that is to loud".

In this case, not only do road rules apply, but a Police Officer declared the area to be "a public area"...and that makes it a road related area!
0
FollowupID: 800572

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:26

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:26
Completely agree Peter. The confusion created by the on again off again "road related" decision seems to have obscured the simple fact that a 15 yo learner driver who had clearly been drinking killed two people.

He used a car and somehow that's different from using a knife or firearm. Two young people were killed - that aspect doesn't seem to have been adequately addressed. That the killer was a policeman's son was probably good to spice up the story and set malicious tongues wagging - again though it simply adds to the confusion and obscures the facts.

A tragic business and very sad for the bereaved families. We should also spare some sympathy for the young driver - his life is permanently blighted.

John
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

1
FollowupID: 800575

Follow Up By: Tim - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 10:31

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 10:31
"The police (and some council officers) have what is called Discretionary Powers. If a given situation does not have a specific Law that applies, then a police officer has the authority to more or less invent a Law to suit...This authority is granted by parliament."

Inventing laws??????? What planet are you from? Discretion and "making" rules are not even close to being related. Discretion is the decision to take action or not. A copper telling you to slow down a bit and not giving you a speeding ticket is discretion.

Council noise restrictions don't mean a noise can not be "offensive" at any time of the day or night. Offensive is the key. Having a rock concert at Homebush at midday is a little different to having 30 cars out the front of your house at midday revving the crap out of their engines.
1
FollowupID: 800580

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 11:26

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 11:26
Agreed Tim,

The coppers are there to enforce existing laws. The government of the day are responsible for the formation of those laws and relevant penalties for breaking them.
As has been said, the road laws may not apply but surely taking lives unlawfully does not mean that just because a motor vehicle was the "weapon" other laws do not come into play. I would have thought a case of manslaughter, unlawful killing or similar could have been leveled.

Cheers
Pop
0
FollowupID: 800584

Follow Up By: cookie1 - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 11:40

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 11:40
Good people, it was stated a couple of times on the program that the Police have the discretion of deeming a place as Public and that is what the arriving Senior Constable did, he deemed it a public place given the "car park / amount of cars" and the accessibility of that area - open gate. The road rules then applied, once that decision was made then he could be breathalysed and later sent for bloods.

It was later that the investigating detective overturned that decision that the boundaries changed therefore making the road rules not apply.

At no point in the program that I recall watching did I hear that they had no rights to declare / deem that area a public place in fact if I recall the Superintendent actually stated that this was an oversight in his report back to the Coroner.

cheers
0
FollowupID: 800585

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 12:36

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 12:36
Quote "At no point in the program that I recall watching did I hear that they had no rights to declare / deem that area a public place in fact if I recall the Superintendent actually stated that this was an oversight in his report back to the Coroner."

Quite correct and this is a little different from on of the followup 3 in reply 2 that said:

"The police (and some council officers) have what is called Discretionary Powers. If a given situation does not have a specific Law that applies, then a police officer has the authority to more or less invent a Law to suit...This authority is granted by parliament."
PeterD
Retired radio and electronics technician

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 800587

Follow Up By: Herbal - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 13:02

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 13:02
From lawlink.nsw.gov - In relation to dealing with young people...

There is also a general consideration, namely “any other matter the official thinks appropriate in the circumstances.” This is a very general consideration which virtually allows police to come to any view which, in their opinion, is appropriate.

End quote.

Both the Criminal Code and the Crimes Act have sections which allow police to consider ANY action to be an offence regardless of whether it is a mandated offence or not.

In this particular matter, it is quite clear to any reasonable thinking person, that the police have used this power to protect the son of one of their own.
0
FollowupID: 800589

Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 13:11

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 13:11
does sound like a grey area

private places arnt neccessaraly exempt from road laws

a good example of this is a shopping centre carpark where all the rules of the road apply despite it being private property.

I think you can also be done drink driving while in your driveway if your in control of your vehicle

I guess what makes it grey is at what point does private property become publically accessable
0
FollowupID: 800592

Follow Up By: landseka - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 13:19

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 13:19
"a good example of this is a shopping centre carpark where all the rules of the road apply despite it being private property."

Have a crash in a shopping centre car park then call police to sort out right from wrong and see what you get. Certainly in WA they will tell you that "the car park is private property, no road laws apply, take civil action if you want recompense". DAMHIK.
0
FollowupID: 800593

Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 14:14

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 14:14
been there done that , as a young fella I thought id do a runner from a carpark bingle

cops showed up at my door and I was slapped with a reversing without due care fine

you have to take civil action to get recompense in any accident if your not going through insurance..

if you dont believe me about shopping centre car parks then swig 1/2 a bottle of burbon, get on your mobile phone while pulling donuts till the cops arrive and tell the to F off your on private property
0
FollowupID: 800601

Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 14:16

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 14:16
oh and have an accident on any road in WA which doesnt involve incapacitated vehicles etc and call the cops
- they will tell you to come in to the station and put the report in.
actually i believe its done at home on the net now

they certainly wont show up to work things out so im not sure what your point was?
0
FollowupID: 800602

Follow Up By: landseka - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 14:29

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 14:29
The point was, as I said, the cops were not interested as the crash was on private property and so not subject to road laws.
0
FollowupID: 800604

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 15:35

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 15:35
Police apply Traffic Laws to drivers of vehicles if they pose a "danger to the public in a public place".
A "public place" is an area where the public are normally allowed free access to, and where there is no signage stating that it is private property.

Shopping centre car parks are "public places", even though they are normally defined as "private property".

Here's the Victorian definition of "public place" - all other States have similar legislation ...

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/soa1966189/s3.html

Crashes involving vehicles in public places fall into two sections;

A. Whether a Road Traffic offence was committed
B. Whether vehicle damage was involved

The police aren't interested in vehicle damage where no bodily injury was incurred. If you suffer only vehicle damage, the onus is on you and the other driver to sort out the damage reparations via insurance companies, lawyers and civil action, if you decide to proceed down that path.

Where a chargeable offence under the relevant Road Traffic Act was carried out in a car park, the police will charge the driver if enough evidence can be gathered to ensure a successful prosecution.

When bodily injury is incurred in vehicle accidents in a public place, police most definitely get involved.

However, whether the paddock in this tragic event was a "public place" is the big question.
For the paddock to become a "public place", there would have to be a public advertisement of the party, and general public invitations.

I don't think this happened in this case - it appears the partying was just an event organised amongst a group of teenage school friends, and the public were not invited.
Just because the paddock gate was open doesn't make it a public place.
0
FollowupID: 800611

Follow Up By: cookie1 - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 16:35

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 16:35
"However, whether the paddock in this tragic event was a "public place" is the big question.
For the paddock to become a "public place", there would have to be a public advertisement of the party, and general public invitations.

I don't think this happened in this case - it appears the partying was just an event organised amongst a group of teenage school friends, and the public were not invited.
Just because the paddock gate was open doesn't make it a public place."

I give up, there were 3 Lawyers, one of which was a QC, a senior constable, a coroner and a superintendent all of which agreed that there was no issue with the arriving Senior Constable deeming it to be a Public Place given the amount of cars and an open gate, I guess the people on here are better than that dumb ass lot.
1
FollowupID: 800621

Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 17:26

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 17:26
Makes me wonder - If drive into farmer joes padock (open the gate etc)

knock off my 1/2 bottle of burbon and do circle work until he calls the cops

- can i be done drink driving or dangerous driving ?

trespass, public nusiance and any number of simular offenses

- but can I have contravened any road traffic act given in my example the padock was definitly not a public being behind shut gates ??
0
FollowupID: 800628

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 17:57

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 17:57
Cookie1 - You didn't read the coroners final report, did you? Nowhere in the report is "public place" mentioned.

The coroner initially suspended the inquest (page 4) declaring that an indictable offence of dangerous driving causing death, had occurred.

At this point the Director of Public Prosecutions in conjunction with legal counsel and the police, after lengthy consideration and discussion, declined to launch a prosecution, despite the Coroners recommendation.

This was because it was deemed the prosecution of the Coroners recommended charge was unsustainable, and it would be thrown out of court.

The Coroner then re-opened the inquest and came up with the conclusion, that under current NSW law, no indictable offence had been incurred (page 10).
The Coroner has stated that it's her opinion that the law regarding indictable traffic offences in NSW needs to be broadened to include areas other than "roads" or "road-related areas" (page 13).
She did not make any recommendations under the NSW Coroners Act in her conclusions.

I'm not stating my opinion is better than any QC, police officer or Coroner. I'm merely stating that many people who have commented on here, are guilty of not reading the relevant reports, or understanding the law, as it applies in NSW.
0
FollowupID: 800634

Reply By: ian - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:45

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:45
Although the other replies relate to important matters, the real issue in the story is whether police deliberately, or through incompetence, failed to pursue matters of evidence that enabled the driver (policeman's son) to escape (so far) prosecution.
ian
AnswerID: 520153

Follow Up By: Jeremy W - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:55

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:55
Interestingly enough the police used a faulty , non functioning, unit to test the driver and took the 0(zero) blood alcohol reading of 0 mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to be true!! Hospital records seem to have disappeared.

Jerry.
0
FollowupID: 800560

Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 07:10

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 07:10
As per JWs follow up.

A coppers son.
A faulty Breath testing device.
Hospital records disappear.
As Ian said failed or incompetence????
Deliberate is a better word.

And we do not have a corrupt or coverup police force.

So what about the poor kids families he ran over and killed?
What do they get from this?
And because of this deliberate and incompetent failure to follow up on the facts the families will/may never see true justice done.

If it was anyone else the book would be thrown at them and the full force of the law bought to bear.

Geoff





1
FollowupID: 800562

Follow Up By: Jeremy W - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:27

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:27
Incompetence. What about the driver? The description is graphic.

He reverses 20m ( possibly out of control) and fast enough to ride over two sleeping bodies then describes his current situation as being bogged and further proceeds to exit " the bog" by "gunning " the V8.

This young man should have the book thrown at him and banned from holding a licence until he is mature enough to be on the roads and behave in a civil manner no matter how long it takes.
0
FollowupID: 800576

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 12:41

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 12:41
Lets not obscure the facts with a lot of emotional opinions driven by the media's efforts to inflate the story.

The driver was 17 yrs old, not 15 yrs old.
All machines break down. The breathalyser used turned out to be faulty. Does this fault, make this breakdown, all part of a huge conspiracy of silence?
The precise BAC as recorded in the hospital is in the coroners report. Did any of you read the coroners report?

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/documents/Orange2013/Finding_Wannan_Dalton-Brown_2013.pdf

A lot of you seem to fail to grasp the fact, that courts are there to enforce the laws.
The laws are interpreted by learned judges. Yes, often those laws are badly written, obtuse, or open to question.

However, under Section 42 of the Road Transport (Safety and Management) Act 1999, charges cannot be laid for traffic offences unless they occur on a "road or road-related area".

A "road or road related area" has to be DECLARED under Section 15 of the Road Transport (General) Act 2005.
That "declaration" of a "road or road-related area" has to be done by the Minister, and the declaration published in the Govt Gazette.

http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/inforcepdf/2005-11.pdf?id=c8e8b0e5-b647-46a9-de11-b8cad5eae5a5

There is no provision in NSW law for any police officer to assume authority to "declare" a section of private property, a "road or road-related area".

A lot of you are failing to grasp the fact that Rhys Colefax was a JUVENILE under the law at the time of the accident. Read = a CHILD.

You're trying to make the kid behave like a mature adult - when he was still an immature teenager and still needed to be be supervised.

He was on L-plates, he was still grappling with the complexities of learning to drive - and he wasn't being supervised, and neither were any of the others at the party.

If the organisers of the party had put some adult supervision and rules in place - as regards separation of sleeping areas, and vehicle areas - and rules about no driving home after partying - then the accident wouldn't have happened.

IMO opinion, a lot of people who are guilty of a lack of supervision of their partying teenagers, are now seeking "hanging retribution" for an accident that can be sheeted home to parents letting immature teenagers loose in a paddock with alcohol, and vehicles, and in party mode.
I'm surprised they didn't let them have firearms as well.

I've spent a large part of my life kicking teenagers arses (young males in particular) to get them to behave, stop doing idiotic things, and grow up, and act like responsible adults.
You still keep doing it when they're in their early 20's. A lot of trucking companies refuse point-blank, to employ semi-trailer drivers under 25 - for obvious reasons - a lack of maturity and responsibility.

The simple fact remains that, although this was a tragic event - with proper supervision and planning of the party by the organising adults, it wouldn't have happened.

The judiciary has rightly agreed, after long deliberation, that any charges brought against Rhys Colefax have little chance of being successful in the courts, because there is little chance of conviction - because a judge will interpret the relevant laws as not being applicable.

These people are charged with spending public monies on legal actions wisely, and with an eye to successful convictions. I'm sure there would be an outcry over public monies wasted on raising charges that only waste precious judicial funds and time.

As someone has previously said, Rhys Colefax has to live with the fact he killed two mates in an act of juvenile stupidity.
The fact that he did so, can be sheeted home directly to poor adult and parental supervision.
The fact that he cannot be charged with any criminal offence is morally wrong - but not wrong under the law, as it stands.
3
FollowupID: 800588

Follow Up By: landseka - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 13:28

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 13:28
What Ron said... x 2. It was a tragic accident which was bound to happen given the circumstances.

Blame the parents if anyone for lack of supervision.

As to "what will the families get out of this", what do they want? Find him guilty so we can sue him? "Give us money, that will make us feel better."

Hrumph!
0
FollowupID: 800594

Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 13:28

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 13:28
Thanks for bringing this matter to our attention.
I have a phobia about this & I wouldn't have put the swag there, it was virtually a car park but Hubby would've.
That's the tragic part of this story,and my heart goes out to the grieving families.
The rest is very wrong, this killer should be charged with manslaughter & should never be allowed to hold a drivers Licence. There is all Law & no Justice in this world today.
It certainly looks like a cover up.
Adult supervision may have prevented this but only if they knew this kid & got him removed from the party. I hope they get to the truth but that won't bring these kids back & it won't end the grief of the Parents.
Take care, safe Travels Ma.
0
FollowupID: 800595

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 14:11

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 14:11
Pa & Ma - You have stated the obvious - that sleeping areas and vehicle operational areas HAVE to be clearly delineated.

Plenty of people have been run over when they slept, after they chose a sleeping area they thought was safe - when it wasn't.

As regards the manslaughter claim - lets examine some jury direction instructions below, in relation to manslaughter charges - particularly the 2nd-last paragraph under Section [5-1005] ..

http://www.judcom.nsw.gov.au/publications/benchbks/criminal/manslaughter.html


Here's the relevant wording ....

"The Crown does not have to establish that the accused had any intention to injure. The offence of manslaughter is complete, even if no injury was intended by the accused and even if the accused had not [himself/herself] realised that [he/she] was exposing the deceased to the risk of injury which would have been foreseen by a reasonable person in the accused’s position.
The test is whether a reasonable person in the position of the accused would have realised that the risk existed."


The last sentence is crucial. There is no way that any jury could conclude that Rhys Colefax could have "reasonably foreseen" a risk of injury or death when he reversed his vehicle.

As far as Rhys Colefax was concerned, he saw no danger in reversing. Part of the reason for this is because he was still on a learners permit and had not had the dangers of "reversing without due care" explained to him. He lacked experience, training, and supervision.

Secondly - it's not unreasonable to expect that you can back around in paddock without running over a sleeping person.

The young couple killed chose their sleeping position poorly. I'm sure you wouldn't place your swag on a obvious track.
You might place your swag in an open area of a clearing. This still doesn't prevent someone driving through the clearing, thinking it's an area open to driving.

You have to choose your sleeping area with an eye to the potential of danger, and make it clear to any potential vehicle owner that people are sleeping there.
You do this by marking off specified sleeping areas by instructions to your group - and by obvious signs to others outside your group, such as taping off or other obstructions, that the area is not to be driven through.

It's too easy to drive over sleeping people, even as an experienced adult, particularly when you don't expect people to be sleeping in the area where you choose to drive.
2
FollowupID: 800600

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)