Truck driver jailed for rider death

A B-double transport driver who struck and killed a bike rider on the outskirts of Horsham in 2019 has been sentenced to three years and four months in jail.

Amal Paulson, 36, of Salisbury Plains, Adelaide, was found guilty of dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop, and failing to render assistance in the trial earlier this year.
Paulson pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The rider, Liam Batson, a father of two, was out on a morning ride along Dimboola Road, part of the Western Highway. He died at the scene.

Prosecutor Andrew McKenry told the jury Paulson had at least 30 seconds to see Mr Batson and pass him safely as she was driving on a straight road, on a clear day, with good visibility.

"Any driver maintaining a proper lookout would have seen the rider," he said.

He told the Court that it was not a cyclist's job to stay out of the way of other vehicles and there was nothing inappropriate about Mr Batson's riding that could have contributed to the collision.

The court was told that Paulson had driven a further kilometre into Horsham before stopping, and maintained that she did not see Batson on the road and was not aware that her truck had been involved in a collision.

In the sentencing last week, Judge Simon Moglia said Paulson had an impeccable driving record, no relevant criminal history and a good attitude to other road users.

He said she was highly respected among her colleagues for her professionalism, hard work and honesty.

"The opportunity you had to see him was over a significant time and distance as you approached," he said.

"Not seeing him in reality means you were not in proper control of your vehicle, which is a matter attracting considerable culpability.

"A driver of your reputation and experience known for stopping and helping others — who carries an emergency kit for that purpose — in my view, would have pulled over there and then.”

Paulson's lawyer, Campbell Thomson, requested a reduced sentence on the grounds of her deteriorating mental health.

Judge Moglia said that as dangerous driving was a category two offence, a jail sentence was required by law.

Mr Thomson told the court he would seek bail for his client, pending an appeal against the conviction.