Faith lost: Grieving husband says 10 months not enough
COLIN Caudell lost the love of his life on January 16 last year. This week he lost his faith in the justice system.
The Caloundra resident received a letter from Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie saying he would not appeal the three-year sentence given to the man who killed Mr Caudell's wife, Suzanne.
Thomas Richard White, 60, was convicted in the Rockhampton District Court on October 14 of dangerous operation of a vehicle. He will serve 10 months in jail.
The court heard Mr White was driving a B-double through roadwork on Kunwarara Rd near Marlborough on January 16 last year when his trailer clipped Mrs Caudell, killing her.
She had been working with Mr Caudell as a traffic controller.
Mr White was travelling 46kmh over the reduced 60kmh speed limit when he hit Mrs Caudell.
He claimed in court he did not see the reduced speeding signs.
Mr Caudell's life has been "on hold" as he waited for justice to be served on Mr White.
He felt betrayed by a sentence he considered too lenient and his hopes lay in an appeal.
Those hopes have now been dashed.
"He will be out in 10 months. I am having big troubles accepting the level of the sentence in my mind mentally,'' Mr Caudell said.
He said he was not the only person being let down by a system he felt had gone soft on crime.
He cited the case of 19-year-old Maleny woman Meghan Catherine Elizabeth Hopper, who killed a Taiwanese fruit picker after being distracted by her mobile phone on July 7, 2012.
Miss Hopper walked away after a 30-month sentence for dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death was wholly suspended.
Mr Bleijie is appealing this sentence.
He told the Daily yesterday his thoughts were "with Mr Caudell and his family during what must be an incredibly difficult time.
"This was a very difficult decision," he said.
"I will always take up the fight for victims in court whenever possible but, as Attorney-General, I must take into account legal advice that I receive when considering any appeal.''
Mr Caudell said the courts did not appear to consider the victim's family when imposing sentences.
"There is no consideration that Sue was a mum, she went to work and had every right to expect to come home.
"I have two boys who are getting married next year, they're moving on, but they miss their mum.
"We were only a month shy of our 36th wedding anniversary when she died."
Mr Caudell has not been able to return to work and he is living in his caravan in a Caloundra caravan park.
"My psychiatrist said he (Wright) is going through the worst experience of his life in jail.
"I said I don't really care. At some stage he will be out of prison and Sue's still going to be dead.
"We will talk tough about law and order, but when it comes to the crunch, nothing matters. We may have got the bikies off the street, but when they go to court - nothing happens.
"The Attorney-General expressed his 'utter sympathies' towards me in his letter.
"He may well be genuine in what he is saying.
"But what is the point if nothing changes in the end?''