Do you mind saying a little bit more about actually, the court case?
It was… it was really something that we’d never experienced before and we didn’t know what to expect. I was a little bit worried in case there was a bit of trouble flaring up and we got into trouble. I mean, you hear of these two families meeting and…
…a bit of friction but we were kept rooms apart, you know, one end room and we was at the other end of the room. What did annoy us a little bit was, just before we were going in the drink driver was laughing and joking with all his friends and…
…in the lobby and, you know, I thought, “Well, that’s not the sign of somebody who’s remorseful or…
Who had to give evidence in court? Did many people have to give evidence?
No. I was videotaped by the police to, if there was any reason I couldn’t go to court, due to hospital appointments, then they videoed my interview. And apparently it’s only to be used if he pleaded not guilty.
Did they do the interview at home?
Yes, they came to my house, because I was still quite immobile.
So did you have to give evidence in court, then?
No. There was, there was nobody to give evidence. I mean, it was just because he…
He pleaded guilty in the end.
He was pleading guilty. His solicitor just was trying to tell the court what a good boy he was, and about not being in trouble with the law before and a steady worker and a good honest lad. No there was hardly any mention of what we went through.
Did you, did anybody make an impact statement?
They, they took some of the statements from my videotape and read it out but the judge kind of says, “I know, I’ve read it”, which was a little bit disheartening really. And basically all that happened in the end was, the events were read out in court, about his drink driving, his speed, not looking where he was going, because at the time when he hit us he was actually looking down for a CD in his car. And as soon as all that was out he, the judge sentenced him. So it was over in a matter of 10, 15 minutes.
Hmhm. It was quite quick.
Were you expecting something different?
I was, to be honest. It’s, it’s not something selfish but I wanted them all to know what we went through.
Not just to be read out on paper. You know, anybody could read a story, but I wanted them to see what we have gone through.
I mean, at the time we didn’t care what they’ve gone through.
They were the perpetrators of this and we were the victims. But like in most cases it’s all about the, the perpetrating act, gets all the talk about in courts, you know. We’re just there in the sidelines just waiting to be asked. But we didn’t get asked.
Was any other member of the family allowed to make an impact statement?
It was just your…?
What we were, what we were told to do by the liaison officer was each to write just a short note for the judge’s eyes only…
…kind of, not pleading with him to be severe but telling him what we’ve lost, what we’ve gone through, what we’re going to go through. You know, we want him punished to the extent that he can be punished.
I mean the maximum sentence for drink driving is 14 years but I’ve never heard of anybody going past four.
So what was the, what, what was his punishment?
He was given 3 ½ years for death by dangerous driving and banned from driving for eight years. But of course 3 ½ years in prison, there’s 3 ½ years of the ban gone. That should actually start when comes out of prison, I think.
What did the family make of that sentence?
Not happy. Like the judge stated, the, the length of the sentence in no way indicated the value of Tony’s life.