Minor price for major indiscretion

A punishment of 150 hours unpaid work was given to a driver who left a young bike rider in a critical condition on the road and waited to hand herself in.

Thi Nguyen was sentenced at the Victorian County Court today for charges resulting from a hit-run involving a 13-year-old bike rider in November last year.

The young rider who was hit was riding on the wrong side of the road, however Ms Nguyen left the scene knowing she had been involved in a serious crash.

She then waited four days to visit police and own up, despite being advised by friends to do so as soon as possible.

The young rider suffered severe injuries and was placed in an induced-coma. She has recovered to a point where she is now out of hospital.

While Ms Nguyen and her driving were not judged to have caused the crash, the charges that were laid against her were still very serious and carry maximum penalties of 10 years jail.

Bicycle Network attended the court hearing today and CEO Craig Richards said that the sentence handed down was surprisingly light and may not be enough of a deterrent for other drivers.

“Four weeks volunteering for leaving a young bike rider in a critical state on the road is not what the community expects and doesn’t pass the pub test,” said Mr Richards.

“The young rider made a small mistake and paid a major price, yet Nguyen has made a major error and paid only a small price.”

Driver of good character, but maybe not genuine

When handing down the sentence, Judge Cannon said that the reasons she gave Ms Nguyen a discounted penalty included that she gave an early indication of a guilty plea, showed remorse and was of good character with strong chances of rehabilitation.

However, Judge Cannon also acknowledged some holes in Ms Nguyen's story, saying that she appeared to give a "disingenuous" account of events.

The judge's remarks noted that Ms Nguyen had previously said that she had seen a man riding a bike but that no man had been hit.

Judge Cannon said it defies belief that Ms Nguyen thought no one had been injured.

Other witnesses had spoken about how smashed the car windscreen was and that hair was visible in the broken glass.

As well as the community service order, Ms Nguyen had her licence cancelled and been disqualified from driving for four years.

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