Prosecutor pushes for jail time for dad whose son was killed in crash

Dominic Smithers

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Prosecutor pushes for jail time for dad whose son was killed in crash

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Prosecutors are demanding a dad be put in prison after his son died in a car crash.

Christopher Browne, from Barnawartha North, Australia, was sentenced to three years of community work after he admitted responsibility for the death of his two-year-old boy in a crash back in 2020.

The 33-year-old was driving his buggy on Christmas Day when he lost control of the vehicle while performing a donut.

Sitting on his father's knee, Lincoln was not strapped in and was not wearing a helmet at the time.

The buggy flipped over and the toddler was killed after his neck was crushed by the force of the impact.

Brown pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving causing death and conduct endangering persons.

Christopher Browne with his wife and son, Lincoln. Credit: Christopher Browne
Christopher Browne with his wife and son, Lincoln. Credit: Christopher Browne

In August last year, he was sentenced to a three-year community corrections order and was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work.

However, prosecutors believe that he should have been put behind bars for his crime.

During a hearing at the Court of Appeal in Melbourne, Chief Crown Prosecutor Brendan Kissane said there was a 'serious degree of irresponsible behaviour' on display.

He said: "We're dealing with offending that was deliberate and offending that, we say, was both objectively serious and at the very least mid-range.

"The fact that the offender was engaged with burnouts and the fact that it was an inherently dangerous piece of equipment that's well known for causing incidents of this nature.

"It brings us no joy to come to this court and say the sentencing that was imposed on the father was inadequate.

"This is a set of circumstances where your honour should have imposed a sentence of imprisonment."

Speaking on behalf of Browne, Jason Gullaci said the father was grief-stricken following the death of his son.

Lincoln died in a buggy crash on Christmas Day 2020. Credit: GoFundMe
Lincoln died in a buggy crash on Christmas Day 2020. Credit: GoFundMe

He told the court he was suffering with his mental health as a result, having been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Not only is [Browne] someone who has shown overwhelming remorse but also someone who from the first opportunity has taken direct responsibility," he said.

"There has been a real detrimental effect of this offending on his mental health. Imprisonment would then weigh more heavily on him and there is a risk of adverse effects on his mental health."

Dismissing these claims, Mr Kissane said: "It's trite to say any parent who is involved in the death of their child would be grief-stricken, would be suffering, or would suffer from stress and anxiety, and the distinction, if there is one, is not such to warrant the distinction in sentence."

A decision on the prosecutor's appeal will be heard at a later date.

Topics: News, Australia, Crime

Dominic Smithers
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