A 20-year-old man has been given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death over a car park incident that killed his friend.
Abdul Walizada was driving a utility when his 19-year-old friend Dhieu Mangor Dhieu, who was standing on the sidestep, fell and suffered a fatal head injury.
The incident occurred in a car park in the northern Perth suburb of Darch, on the night of January 28, 2017.
The District Court sentenced Walizada to 22 months in prison, suspended for 20 months.
Victim’s family pays ‘big price’
Outside court, his lawyer Frank Mestichelli described his client as very remorseful.
“It was a tragic incident, took the life of his best friend and someone’s son,” Mr Mestichelli said.
“We’re very appreciative of the decision.
“It is something that young people and everyone should just appreciate — that a few seconds and a few metres can lead to a tragedy, and it’s a big price to pay for young ‘Worris’, his family and the family of young Dhieu.”
Walizada wept in the dock as the sentence was handed down.
The court heard he had suffered mental health issues, including depression, since the incident.
He must undergo supervision in the community, and regular counselling.
He was disqualified from driving for two years and must have urine analysis for cannabis use, although there was no evidence he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.
Judge Mark Herron said a message had to be sent that skylarking in vehicles was a “very dangerous thing to do”.
Victim’s family expected custodial sentence
Dhieu Mangor Dhieu’s sister, Cholhok, said the family had expected a custodial sentence.
“I think the biggest thing in this case is what he got doesn’t really send a message to the youth,” Ms Dhieu said.
“They gather around outside in car parks and do this kind of reckless behaviour and I think the sentence that he got doesn’t really justify what happened.
“I don’t think the family’s really happy about it.
“I think he should’ve at least gotten some time to show that your actions to actually ruin people’s lives, like all of us have been really negatively impacted by it.”
She paid tribute to her brother, who had been a student at Curtin University.
“He was an amazing man. I think he’s very missed in our family and he meant so much to us and I think it’s just horrible that this is how his life has ended,” she said.
“He was an incredible person, we all miss him very much and he was a good member of this community.”