WA man spared jail over teen’s death
A young man who fatally injured a mate while “skylarking” in his ute at a Perth car park after playing basketball has been spared an immediate prison sentence.
Dhieu Mangor Dhieu, 19, had jumped onto the side step of the vehicle and fell off, striking his head on the ground, when Abdul Walizada accelerated then hit the brakes in January last year, the West Australian District Court heard on Tuesday.
Walizada, now aged 20, was born in Pakistan but came to Australia as a child.
The court heard he has post traumatic stress following the incident, which Judge Mark Herron described as a tragic accident.
Defence counsel Frank Mestichelli said there were no drugs or alcohol involved, just a poor decision, describing his client as immature.
Mr Mestichelli said if Walizada had a crystal ball he would never have “skylarked” like he did.
He said Walizada lost one of his best friends and acknowledged a family had also lost their son.
“It is something Mr Walizada has to live with for the rest of his life,” Mr Mestichelli said.
“He accepts that in all the circumstances … he drove in a manner which was dangerous.”
Mr Mestichelli said it was the second time a vehicle had taken the life of someone Walizada cared for, following the death of his father in a car accident.
“He has certainly learnt his lesson,” he said.
“He wishes he could turn back the clock, but, be that as it may, he cannot.”
Judge Herron accepted Walizada was remorseful but said he did not need to drive forward that quickly.
“You failed to fully appreciate the dangerous nature of your actions.”
In her victim impact statement, Mr Dhieu’s mother said the family came to Australia from South Sudan in 2003 and her son was a role model to his siblings.
Since his death, the mother’s depression had worsened, and she suffered nightmares, sleeplessness and hopelessness.
Judge Herron said Walizada’s youth was a strong mitigating factor but general deterrence was also a significant consideration.
Walizada, who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving subsequently resulting in a death, was sentenced to 22 months in jail suspended for 20 months with conditions.
He also had his driver’s licence disqualified for the mandatory two years.
Outside court, the victim’s sister Cholhok Dhieu choked up talking about her brother, describing him as an “amazing man” who was missed by the family.
“I think the sentence he got doesn’t really justify what happened and it’s not going to bring our brother back, so I don’t think the family’s really happy about it,” she said.
“But we’re glad that it’s over.”
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