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    A drunk speeding driver who was sentenced to 15 years’ jail for manslaughter has had his sentence slashed.

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      manslaughter

      The Offence of Manslaughter in NSW

      A drunk speeding driver who was sentenced to 15 years’ jail for the manslaughter of a teenager and a heavily pregnant woman with unborn twins and has had his sentence slashed.

      Richard Moananu appeared at the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal where he was re-sentenced to 12-and-a-half years with a non-parole period of 8 years and four months.

      The court found that compared to other similar cases, the original sentence was manifestly excessive.

      Aggravated Dangerous Driving

      Richard Moananu was 31-years-old in November 2020 when he was jailed for 15 years with a non-parole period of 10 years.

      He pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter over the crash in western Sydney. Katherine Hoang and a 17-year-old learner driver died when Moananu’s car crashed into them in Orchard Hills.

      Ms Hoang was due to give birth to twins the following week.

      Moananu also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm. This related to Bronko Hoang, the sole survivor of the September 2017 collision.

      The court was told that he sustained life-altering injuries to his body and brain, and profound psychological trauma.

      When Mr Hoang awoke from a coma in hospital, nurses had to “tie him down” as they reminded him of what happened.

      Appeal Decision

      Justices Mark Leeming and Peter Hamill found that the sentence was “manifestly excessive”.

      “The course of conduct undertaken by the applicant in the present case was outrageous and appalling. It threatened the lives of many road users and had a devastating impact on Hoang and his family. The tragedy to that family is barely able to be imagined”, Justice Hammill said.

      Witnesses said they Moananu’s vehicle weaving in and out of traffic, fail to indicate properly, run a red light and drive over a grassy median strip before it became airborne.

      Moananu had been speeding with four times the legal limit of alcohol in his system, which the original sentencing judge said showed a total disregard for all road users that day.

      He was driving on an expired licence when he veered onto the wrong side of the road, travelling more than 45km/h over the speed limit.

      “On the other hand, the applicant presented a strong subjective case, demonstrated deep remorse from the day of the collision and received a 25 per cent discount for his early plea of guilty.”

      When compared with sentences imposed in similar cases, His Honour found the starting points for the judge’s sentences were “very high”.

      “Assuming those sentences were within a legitimate discretionary range, they stretched that range to its limit…When the degree of notional accumulation is taken into account, and comparison is made to other cases, I am persuaded that the aggregate sentence imposed on the applicant was manifestly excessive.”

      But Justice Derek Price dissented. He held that the extent of notional accumulation did not lead to a conclusion that the aggregate sentence was unreasonable or plainly unjust.

      “The destruction of the lives and future aspirations of the innocent victims in the car being driven by (the teenager) was brought about by the applicant’s appalling conduct,” he said.

      The sentence imposed had reflected the totality of his criminality.

      The Offence of Manslaughter in NSW

      Manslaughter is the unlawful homicide of another person. It is less serious than murder because the accused either did not intend to kill the deceased, or there were extenuating circumstances.

      These are set out in Section 24 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and include provocation, excessive self-defence or substantial impairment or abnormality of the mind.

      How Can You Beat a Manslaughter Charge?

      You can beat a manslaughter charge if the prosecution cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:

      1. The alleged victim died; and
      2. Your actions or failure to act caused that death (causation); and
      3. Your act was either:

      a. provoked, excessive self-defence or substantial impairment;

      b. you did not fulfil your duty of care (eg. professional negligence as a nurse or doctor);

      c. unlawful and dangerous (ie. you exposed another person to a risk of serious injury)

      Having the best criminal lawyers for manslaughter will go a long way towards beating these charges.

      Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email info@astorlegal.com.au.

      Defences to Manslaughter

      The following are defences to Manslaughter:

      1. Identification: The prosecution cannot prove you were responsible for the death. If your DNA or fingerprints were found at the scene, we can instruct our team of DNA and fingerprint experts to cast doubt on this evidence;
      2. Self-defence: This is a common defence. Your actions were necessary to defend yourself and a reasonable response in the circumstances.
      3. Causation: Your actions did not cause the death
      4. Duress: You were forced to commit the offence

      Manslaughter Sentence

      The sentence for manslaughter is jail. Every person found guilty of manslaughter has been sentenced to imprisonment, ranging from 5 years to 18 years.

      These are still significantly less than the sentences for murder.

      The maximum penalty for manslaughter is 25 years’ imprisonment.

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