Driver wins reduced jail term over fatal crash

A WOMAN who admitted to causing a fatal crash near Stanthorpe last year has been granted release from jail after she took her case to Queensland's highest court.

Queensland Court of Appeal on Friday found in favour of Bronya Schoner, who claimed her five-year jail sentence was excessive.

Schoner, now 38, was travelling between Melbourne and the Gold Coast in February 2014 and had driven almost 18 hours when she crossed onto the wrong side of the road and slammed into another car, killing Tenterfield woman Dianne Holley.

Ms Holley's daughter, Samantha, then 20, received a traumatic brain injury and was left in a coma and Ms Holley's other daughter Katie was injured in the New England Hwy crash.

About an hour before the crash, Schoner, from Victoria, had been issued with a speeding ticket and the police officer noted she appeared tired.

About four days into her trial at Warwick District Court in February this year, Schoner pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and grievous bodily harm, driving while disqualified, driving having consumed drugs and other offences.

She was sentenced to five years jail, suspended after two.

Schoner applied to Queensland's highest court to be granted an extension to allow her to appeal her sentence.

The Court of Appeal on Friday granted Schoner this and ordered the full appeal be found in her favour. It also ordered her sentence be changed to four years jail, suspended immediately.

In his judgment Justice Peter Lyons said past legal cases did not support Schoner's five year jail sentence and ordered it be changed.

"In my view … (the sentence) was outside the boundaries of the proper exercise of the sentencing discretion, and was accordingly manifestly excessive," he said.

Schoner will have a jail sentence hanging over her head until February 2019. - APN NEWSDESK


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