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Media Release

Sunday 19 February 2006
 
 DRINK-DRIVE - GET-OFF
 
 
Former Top Cop calls upon DPP to Appeal “Taban Gany” Case and Asks Premier Bracks to Introduce “3-Strikes and You’re Automatically Off the Road and Into Jail” Legislation

The former Assistant Commissioner (Traffic) of Victoria Police, Ray Shuey, and now Director of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, has written to the Victorian DPP calling for the “Tarban Gany” case to be appealed.  Mr Shuey said: “This and dozens of other cases like it, have proven that judges and magistrates are simply unfit to deal with serial and recidivist drink-drivers.  Their actions not only free these criminals to go back into the community and kill and maim their innocent victims, they send out the irrefutable message: “DRINK DRIVE – GET OFF.”

 

“If the judiciary doesn’t take on the responsibility to look after the victim’s rights in sentencing, then it’s time we as a community stood up for their cause.  Enough is enough.

 

“The community perception is that these judges and magistrates focus their attention on the drivers and their rehabilitation with no apparent concern whatsoever for their innocent victims, the trauma and carnage they cause and the message they are sending to the community.

 

“If a drink-driver can demonstrate he or she wasn’t breast-fed, had his or her toys taken away or was shouted at before they were seven, then it’s a veritable thrashing with a feather.  Suffering trauma in your life doesn’t give you an excuse to impose trauma, carelessly or negligently on others.

 

Mr Shuey added:  “We are also writing to the Premier asking him to introduce legislation which bans anyone from driving for life, along with a mandatory jail term if they have had three convictions for drink-driving within a five year period.  Some magistrates and judges have proven, time and time again, that they will only jail these repeat offenders when they kill someone.  They are so utterly out of touch with reality and community feeling, that it’s time politicians took over and reflected the community’s concerns and will.  Additionally, police are frustrated at spending hours of work and valuable resources bringing these criminals before the courts and then being required to remain silent when a trivial sentence is delivered.

 

“The Victorian Government was the first in Australia to remove magistrates’ discretion in drink-drive cases when it required all motorists convicted of drink-driving over .07 BAC to lose their licences.  And those under this level receive a mandatory 10 Demerit Points.  They lead Australia in this initiative.  Mr Shuey said.

 

The Chairman of the PCA, Harold Scruby added:  “Governments must also introduce mandatory vehicle confiscation laws for all motorists caught driving while disqualified.  This is the law in New Zealand and it has resulted in a 40% reduction in unlicensed driving.  An NRMA survey of over 12,000 members revealed that: ‘96% of people believe that vehicle impoundment would be an effective measure for controlling serial serious offenders.’  These recidivists can’t drive without wheels.  And instead of spending a fortune on interlock devices which only encourage drink-drivers to believe there’s an easy way to get your licences back, the authorities should spend the money on protecting the community by taking their cars.  The entire function can be outsourced to allow police to catch more of these criminals.

 

“The time has come to start spending road safety resources on protecting the vast majority of law-abiding motorists and the public generally, not focussing on rehabilitating repeat drink-drivers and how they can get back behind the wheel.  3 strikes in 5 years and you’re off the road for life and inside jail until you can prove you are no longer a lethal threat to the community.  A driver’s licence is a privilege, not a right.”  Mr Scruby said.

 

Contacts: Ray Shuey Director PCA (Victoria)   – (03) 9887-8805 - (0411) 100-147  or

Harold Scruby - Chairman/CEO – PCA -  (02) 9968-4555 (0418) 110-011 www.walk.com.au
 

Sunday Herald Sun – Sunday 12 February 2006

Little victims of car crash plead ...  Jail this drunk

 

By: CARLY CRAWFORD

THE young victims of repeat drink driver Taban Gany say they will forever bear the scars of his crime while he roams free.

 

The five hurt and angry Dandenong children yesterday pleaded for a more severe penalty on Gany than his three-year suspended jail sentence.

 

The youngest victim, Sabi Mashid, 7, led the call for the Director of Public Prosecutions to appeal against the sentence.  Doctors had to amputate Sabi's right foot after last year's crash.

 

Sabi said he felt “bad” about the sentence.

 

“They let the man go away,” he said.  “It's not fair on me and the others.  They say the Government cares about children, but now the children are hurt.  He (Gany) should go in jail because then maybe he can't drive.” His mother, Farida Mashid, said he was confused and the family had lost faith in the law.

 

Gany, 32, had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit when he crashed through a brick wall and into Dandenong West Primary School on May 19 last year.

 

At the time, he was disqualified from driving and had two prior drink-driving convictions.

On Friday, County Court judge Peter Gebhardt dealt Mr Gany a three-year wholly suspended jail term.  Gany's licence was cancelled for the same term.

 

Judge Gebhardt said Mr Gany, a Sudanese refugee, developed an alcohol problem after suffering post traumatic stress disorder.  His father had been tortured and killed by Sudanese militia.

 

“A man convicted of a suspended sentence does not `go free'.  No, he goes away bearing a considerable burden,” Judge Gebhardt said.  A breach would result in probable jail.

 

Angela Pomohachi, 12, who escaped with cuts to her leg, said it was “too easy for him (Gany) to get back in a car”.

 

Dilan Deveci, 12, vividly recalled “just playing” when she saw Gany's car coming down the road, “sort of going zig-zag, then it just turned and hit the tree”.

 

“Then, before we could do anything at all or get out of the way, it came around and hit us,” she said.  “After that children were just lying around crying.” Thilini Meemanage, 12, was among those playing with Dilan in the school yard when the car crashed through.

 

She suffered head injuries so deep she required 40 stitches.

 

Medina Hubanic, 12, suffered three fractures to her right leg.

 

Her mother, Anica, was devastated by the sentence.  Her daughter could no longer play her favourite sport, netball.

 

“For me it's very hard to talk about, I'm very upset, I'm very angry about it, it's not right,” she said.  “He was drunk and dangerous and everyone is upset and he's walking free.” The DPP has 28 days to lodge an appeal.

 

Mr Gany did not respond to requests for comment.

 

Editorial, Page 84

 

Sabi Mashid, 7: 'He must go to jail.  He has to be in jail forever because, if he gets out, maybe he'll hurt another boy.  Tell the judge I want my leg back.'

 

Dilan Deveci, 12: 'We want him in jail.  He should be in jail.  He was just thinking of himself and he could have killed Sabi.  He has no right to be free, he's hurt an innocent child who is never going to be the same.'

 

Thilini Meemanage, 12: 'It's really stupid because this man has hurt so many people and he's getting away with it.  Others would get a fine or something.  He gets nothing.'

 

Medina Hubanic, 12: 'It makes me angry knowing he's free and that he might do it again.  He might kill someone next time.'

 

Angela Pomohachi, 12: 'He should have been in jail for at least five years or something.  Sabi lost his leg and that handicap is going to be with him forever and he (Gany) gets away with nothing.  Reconsider and look at the evidence.'

 

TELL THEM WHAT YOU THINK CONTACTS:

 

Office of Public Prosecutions, 565 Lonsdale St, Melbourne 3000.

Email: enquiries@opp.vic.gov.au

 

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks. 
Level 1, Treasury Place, Melbourne
Email:
steve.bracks@parliament.vic.gov.au