P-plater avoids jail over sister's death

A P-plater responsible for a crash on Macquarie Pass in which his 15-year-old sister died has been spared jail and wished well by a Wollongong judge.

Judge Paul Conlon declared the teen a "reliable, worthwhile and decent person" after considering a large number of statements attesting to his good character and remorse over the crash.

The youth was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond in lieu of a full-time jail sentence, and disqualified from driving for 15 months. The judge took into account a psychologist's report showing how the teen had fared in the wake of his sister's death.

"As he felt responsible for her death, he felt that he was not able to grieve for her, and put on a brave face for his family," Judge Conlon said.

The Moss Vale youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was overtaking across double, unbroken lines around a blind corner when he lost control of his Ford Falcon shortly after 6pm on April 18, 2013.

The car left the road and careered down an embankment.

The driver and his step-brother, who had been in the front passenger seat, freed themselves but his sister was trapped for 1½ hours.

She remained on life support for organ donation and, on April 19, was declared dead.

The driver suffered four fractures to his vertebrae. He pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving occasioning death.

Wollongong District Court heard yesterday he had only resumed walking unaided four months ago and there were concerns within the family that the tragedy would affect his ability to continue his university studies.

It was, said Judge Conlon, "an exceptional case in exceptional circumstances".

"I would be surprised if what happened here today would be a barrier to him entering his chosen profession ... I wish you the best in the future."

The teen's father and his girlfriend were among his supporters inside the courtroom yesterday.

In a statement, his girlfriend told the court: "No-one had a closer bond within the ... family than [the teen and his sister]."

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