Sydney Morning Herald - Friday 23 February 2007

P-plater's sentence over fatal crash increased

The scene of the accident where Jade Graham died instantly
after the car she was travelling in with schoolmates from
Queenwood crashed and overturned in Mosman in 2004.
Photo: Peter Morris

A Sydney P-plater who crashed her car, killing one of her friends and seriously injuring two others, will spend at least six months in custody after her sentence was increased on appeal.

The 19-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had only held her provisional licence for 11 days when she lost control of her Peugeot convertible in Raglan Street, Mosman, in June 2004.

Jade Graham, 18, died on impact while two other teenage girls, both 17, suffered serious injuries - one fracturing her skull and forming a blood clot on her brain.

In the NSW District Court today, Judge Ken Taylor said the driver, who was 17 at the time of the accident, had been driving at speeds between 75km/h and 80km/h in a 50km/h zone when she lost control of the car.

He said this had "caused a terrible accident and caused the death" of Ms Graham.

The teenager was previously convicted in the Children's Court after changing her plea to guilty.

She was then sentenced to a maximum 18 months, with a non-parole period of two months, for one count of dangerous driving occasioning death and two counts of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.

In August 2006, she won the right to appeal her conviction, but in December last year, Judge Taylor upheld her conviction.

The teenager was today re-sentenced following an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions which said the original sentence was inadequate and because substantial fresh evidence was introduced in the appeal hearing.

Judge Taylor today increased her sentence to 20 months in a juvenile justice facility with a six-month non-parole period for the charge of dangerous driving occasioning death, and eight months with a non-parole period of three months for the remaining charges.

The sentences will be served concurrently, meaning the teenager will be eligible for parole in August this year.