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Harsher Penalties: The ‘Four Angels Law’ Tabled By Parliament

, Harsher Penalties: The ‘Four Angels Law’ Tabled By Parliament

Harsher Penalties: The ‘Four Angels Law’ Tabled By Parliament

The ‘Four Angels law’ was tabled by the New South Wales State Parliament in response to the horrific tragedy which took the lives of Anthony, Angelina and Sienna Abdallah and their cousin, Veronique Sakr. The terrible event occurred in February last year when a drunk driver mounted the footpath, killing the four children. The driver, Samuel William Davidson was three times over the alcohol limit and under the influence of drugs. Now, just over a year since the event, the ‘Four Angels Law’ is set to be introduced into New South Wales legislation in order to enforce harsher penalties for compound drinking and drug drivers. The proposed law will also increase the presence of mobile speed cameras and will remove warning signs for motorists.

THE LAW IN NSW

Understandably, the horrific collision which claimed the lives of these four children initiated a review of traffic law in NSW. Currently, NSW does not create a combined offence for drivers who are under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. Under the law, driving whilst under the influence of drugs is a separate offence for which the driver could be fined up to $2,200.00 if their offending did not cause injury or death.

In order to give you an idea of how the proposed law will impact the current traffic law, the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) establishes that the maximum penalty for drink driving (first offence) includes the following:

  • Low range PCA (0.05 – 0.079) $2,200 fine;
  • Middle range PCA (0.08 – 0.149) $2,200 fine or 9 months imprisonment (or both); and
  • High range PCA (0.15 and above) $3,300 fine or 18 months imprisonment (or both).

THE ‘FOUR ANGELS LAW’: TABLED 10 FEBRUARY 2021

Last week, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance tabled the new laws to the New South Wales Parliament.

The proposed changes include:

  • The removal of all warning signs which would indicate upcoming mobile speed cameras;
  • Mobile speed cameras in NSW will increase from 7,000 hours to 21,000 hours per month; and
  • Compound drink and drug driving charges will incur a $11,000 fine and two years’ imprisonment.

POSSIBLE DEFENCES FOR TRAFFIC RELATED OFFENCES

When a client speaks to our Parramatta criminal lawyers, our lawyers are focusing on whether a defence at law may exist which may exonerate our client. A legal defence at law may be the reason in which a person could be found not guilty. 

Traffic related offences are generally referred to as ‘strictly liable’ which means that the accused will be guilty of the offence even if there is an absence of criminal intent. Whilst this may sound like there is no defence available under the law, Proudman v Dayman [1941] established the defence referred to as “honest and reasonable mistake”. In order to successfully raise this defence, the accused person must demonstrate that he/she held an honest and reasonable belief in a state of facts which, had they existed, would have made the accused person’s act innocent.

WHEN WILL THE NEW LAW BE IN FORCE?

Law making in NSW is similar to that of other states in Australia. The first step is the initiation of a proposed bill which is brough before the lower House of State Parliament. At this point the bill is introduced and read by a Minister or private member. Should the House agree to vote the bill in, copies are made and are distributed among Parliament Ministers. After the bill has been introduced, the Minister in charge of the bill will give a speech outlining why the proposed bill should become law. After the first reading has concluded, a second reading is undertaken whereby Ministers may debate and/or express their opinions on the wording of the bill and its function. Finally, the bill will be voted on in the third reading and will be presented to the legislative council. Should the bill make it passed this point, assent is given by the Governor of New South Wales and the bill will become legislation. The new law will come into force on the specified date outlined in the bill.

DEATH TOLL ON NSW ROADS

According to the latest statistical release from Transport NSW, 2020 saw a reduction of deaths on our roads by 16% compared to the prior year (2019). According to one article, this represents the lowest death toll on our roads in 97 years. Although this could be due to the tight government restrictions which limited our movement during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 boasted better road safety due to upgrades of our roads, improved vehicle technology and faster response times by emergency services.

HOW NATIONAL CRIMINAL LAWYERS CAN ASSIST YOU

Whilst National Criminal Lawyers® acknowledges that the ‘Four Angels Law’ is aimed at reducing death on our roads, we understand that sometimes people make mistakes. Our lawyers at National Criminal Lawyers are some of the most experienced in Traffic Law. If you or someone you know has been caught in a traffic offence, contact us here to get the best defenders of your rights.

Book your first free appointment with National Criminal lawyers now.
CONTACT US! 02 9893 1889

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