Family’s heartbreak over fatal driver’s sentence
THE family of White Rock's Lee James is "furious and heartbroken" that the man who accidentally killed him was punished with a fine.
Gasmyn Lee Paul Kamps, 20, known to close family and friends as Lee James, was asleep on the road at Hunt Street last December when Julian Sammut, 21, ran him over at 4am.
Sammut was sentenced to a $2000 fine and a suspended licence after pleading guilty to driving without due care or attention causing death.
"Our family is so furious and still so heartbroken to believe he is actually gone," Shinica Ida said from Townsville.
"For this driver to walk free absolutely shatters our hearts all over again."
Ms McLeod and Mr Kamps were cousins.
"We are disgusted in the system, we now have a brother six feet under and the driver gets to walk free," Ms McLeod said.
"Lee was such a good kid so innocent and enjoyed the little things in life," Ms McLeod said.
The court heard the range of punishment for Mr Sammut ranged from fines to a suspended sentence, recommended by prosecutor Senior Constable Stewart Clyde Smith
Mark Butler defending, told the court imposed penalties for the relatively new offence had so far included 10 fines with conviction, 11 fines without conviction and three suspended jail terms.
Mr Kamps had attended a party at Hunt Street on December 18 but left the party unnoticed.
As he slept on the road he was mistaken for a shopping bag or a piece of luggage by Sammut, a learner driver who took evasive action too late.
Magistrate Sandra Pearson called the events a confluence of "tragic circumstances."
Police were already on the way to the scene before the accident, having been called due to an unruly crowd.
"Tragically, had police been there two minutes earlier or my client two minutes later, they would have been there first," defending lawyer Mark Butler told the court this week.
Mr Kamps, who was brought up on Mornington Island and Normanton before moving with his guardians Leslie James & Tony Bond to Cairns, suffered mortal injuries and died at the scene.
Friends and family at the party found Mr Kamps on the road shortly after.
"My brother Raymond Williams and nephew Jett George tried to revive Lee but it was too late, there was froth was coming out of his mouth," Ms McLeod said.
She felt Sammut's sentence was unjust.
"It's just so ridiculous, how heartbreaking for our family," Ms McLeod said.
"Lee was the most respectful brother, never had a nasty bone in his body."
Magistrate Pearson, in sentencing Sammut, said the learner driver of three years should have paid better attention to the road.
"You should have been able to take better evasive steps, it seems a convergence of unfortunate circumstances," Ms Pearson said.
She said the sentence for Sammut would not be welcomed by Mr Lee's family.
"It is impossible to really impose a penalty that will appease or make anybody feel good about what has happened," Ms Pearson said.
"That family is no doubt truly devastated by what happened (and) will be in pain for many years to come."