THE guilt of his mother’s death will be an “ongoing punishment” for Rodney Steven Demaine, a Maroochydore court has heard.
Demaine, 23, pleaded guilty at Maroochydore District Court yesterday to one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death while under the adverse affect of an illicit substance.
Judge John Robertson handed down a three-and-a-half-year sentence, suspended after 12 months for an operational period of four years. Demaine was also disqualified from driving for three years.
The charges stemmed from a single-vehicle crash at Burnside on November 2 last year, which resulted in the death of his mother,Vivianne Rose Maria Soria.
He was found to have drugs and alcohol in his system.
At yesterday’s sentencing the courtroom was packed with family and friends in support of Demaine.
As the verdict was reached and he was ushered from the court, Demaine’s eyes swelled with tears as he turned to his family and blew a kiss goodbye.
The court heard that on the evening of November 2, last year, Demaine had been arguing with his mother in the car when it smashed into a power pole at the corner of Windsor and Perwillowen roads.
Ms Soria was 49, and left behind partner of 25 years Peter Demaine and their children including Demaine, his twin Derek, Jacqueline, 25, Christopher, 20 and Robert, 15.
The court heard there was tension within the family on the day following a Melbourne Cup party at the Commercial Hotel on Currie St, Nambour, which was attended by Demaine, his siblings and his mother. Alcohol was consumed by both Demaine and his mother.
At one point, Ms Soria and son Derek became involved in a heated argument, at which point Derek left the hotel. Demaine and Ms Soria left some time later to return to Demaine’s residence.
There, the argument between Derek and Ms Soria began again, until she and Demaine left in his car. He was observed spinning the back wheels of his car and fighting with Ms Soria just moments before the fatal crash.
It was also heard that Demaine had cannabis in his system from the night before. A BAC reading taken hours after the crash registered 0.107%. A medical report contained in the statement of facts said it was likely to be 0.130% at the time of the incident.
In sentencing, Judge Robertson took into account Demaine’s age, remorse and intentions to plead guilty from the start.
“Your guilt is a form of ongoing punishment,” said Judge Robertson who called it a tragedy beyond words.
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