A man with a prosthetic leg and under the influence of cannabis mistook the accelerator of his car for the brake, killing a child in a parking lot.
Wayne Peter Hunt, 55, pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing death in January and was sentenced in the Darwin Supreme Court on Friday.
He will spend three months behind bars and serve the remainder of his three-year sentence in house arrest, suspended after nine months.
Wayne Peter Hunt, 55, pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing death in January and was sentenced in the Supreme Court in Darwin.
At around midday on December 20, 2022, Hunt was leaving a supermarket in Palmerston with an iced coffee in his hands and walked towards his ute, which had a newly installed crash bar.
He then accidentally dropped the bottle under the car and, while trying to retrieve the drink, pressed the accelerator instead of the brake and pinned the boy against a wall.
It took Hunt eight seconds to reverse the vehicle after witnesses began shouting at him to do so, and the boy died at the scene.
‘I left the store and opened the car door. “My milk spilled and it rolled under the car,” Hunt told police at the time.
‘I jumped out and backed up. I hadn’t gone back far enough, so I went back but moved forward.’
The court was told of Hunt’s long-term physical injuries arising from several motorcycle accidents, one of which required the amputation of his right leg.
Hunt did not have the proper license to drive the ute used during the accident due to a serious motorcycle accident in 2008 which left him with a prosthetic leg.
The van he drove to the supermarket was not modified for its condition as required by NT Roads.
At around midday on December 20, 2022, Hunt was leaving a supermarket in Palmerston (pictured) with an iced coffee in his hands and walked towards his ute, which had a newly installed crash bar.
Drug tests also found that he had cannabis in his system “approximately equivalent to the effects experienced by a person with a blood alcohol concentration in the range of 0.05% to 0.1%.”
“Your decision to drive under the influence of cannabis, together with your decision to drive a vehicle that you knew was not suitably modified for you, were aggravating circumstances,” Ms Huntingford said.
“Your dangerous driving existed from the moment you decided to drive.”
In handing down the sentence, Acting Judge Meredith Huntingford said she took into account Hunt’s physical disability, his mild cognitive impairment and his post-traumatic stress disorder and depressive disorder.
“It is clear to me that a period of imprisonment is likely to be considerably more onerous (on you) than on other members of the community,” he said.
Hunt had the support of his family in court and sat crying as he was sentenced.
Outside court, Hunt’s attorney, Matt Hubber, said he was glad the case was over.
“He accepts his responsibility,” he said.
The boy’s family was also visibly distraught following the sentencing.
Hunt will be released in May.