A MAN who left an Aberglasslyn woman for dead after he had careered into the back of her car at 200km/h on the M1 at Morisset has failed in his bid to have his maximum four-year jail term reduced.
It was the morning of November 10, 2014, and Kristyn Rourke was heading north in her Toyota HiLux on the M1.
Behind her, swerving in and out of the breakdown lane, was Kayden James Lawson, who was moving so quickly that the vehicles he overtook were shuddering.
As she was approaching the Stockton Creek Bridge, Ms Rourke merged into the right-hand lane. At the same time the breakdown lane that Lawson was flying along in came to an end and he swerved across the left hand lane into the right hand lane.
Upon seeing his rapid approach, Ms Rourke tried to move back into the left hand lane to avoid him, but Lawson followed, intent on undertaking her without slowing down.
The vehicles collided at high speed, causing Ms Rourke’s HiLux to leave the ground, flip several times, hit the guardrail and roll down a steep embankment.
Lawson, who suffered only minor injuries, leapt from his car, grabbed his skateboard and took off, trying to hitchhike along the M1 to get away. Meanwhile, Ms Rourke was trapped in her vehicle for more than an hour and would spend 29 days in intensive care.
Among a host of catastrophic injuries, Ms Rourke suffered a traumatic brain injury, which initially wiped more than 10 years of memories. Lawson pleaded guilty to dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and failing to stop and assist and in February last year was jailed for a maximum of four years, with a non-parole period of two-and-a-half years.
Lawson lodged an appeal against the severity of his sentence to the Court of Criminal Appeal, saying the jail term was “manifestly excessive” and the sentencing judge had failed to take into account the causative link between his subsequent diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and the offence.
On Friday, the appellate court rejected the appeal.
“[Lawson’s] driving was extremely dangerous over a sustained period, he endangered numerous road users before his collision with Ms Rourke’s vehicle and the injuries inflicted upon her were shocking, both in their immediate effect and because of the ongoing suffering and disability they have caused,” the judgement said.
“If the applicant’s moral culpability was not reduced by mental illness a sentence of considerably longer than three years and six months would have been called for.
“The indicative sentence clearly made substantial allowance for the causative effect of the schizophrenia.”