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In a tragic accident, a 50-year-old man named Shipway was left quadriplegic after being hit by a car driven by Bourke while riding his motorbike on the correct side of the road. Bourke, who had been waiting to pull out of a park, did not see Shipway and collided with him, causing severe injuries including a three-quarter C-spine fracture, multiple rib fractures, and a facial fracture. Shipway now suffers from bladder and bowel dysfunction, muscle spasms, and a mild brain injury as a result of the accident. An online fundraising page has raised nearly $19,000 for Shipway’s medical treatment.

Bourke, who admitted to low-range drink-driving at the time but stated that this did not play a role in the accident, rushed to help Shipway after the crash and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. Despite struggling mentally from his guilt, Judge Jonathon Priestley emphasized that the harm caused to Shipway outweighed Bourke’s feelings of remorse. Shipway, described as a man of tremendous resilience, had his life forever changed by the accident, even leading to the separation from his partner, Nadine.

Judge Priestley criticized Bourke’s actions as more than simply momentary inattention, stating that backing his car into the driveway and turning left legally would have avoided the collision. He emphasized the need for Bourke to have kept a proper lookout, which he failed to do in this case. Despite this, Priestley considered Bourke’s contribution to society before and after the crash, as well as his completion of a driving course and rehabilitation for unrelated drug issues, in determining a suitable sentence. The Crown did not oppose a community sentence for Bourke.

Bourke was ultimately sentenced to an 18-month Intensive Correction Order for dangerous driving resulting in grievous bodily harm, with a 25% reduction for his early guilty plea. Under the order, he must be supervised by Community Corrections, abstain from consuming illegal drugs or those not prescribed, and not commit any further offenses. The judge considered additional minor offenses of low-range drink-driving and possessing cannabis in the sentencing decision. Back-up charges of negligent driving causing grievous bodily harm and making a U-turn without giving way were withdrawn.

The court acknowledged the devastating impact of the accident on Shipway’s life, leading to severe injuries and long-term health issues. Despite Bourke’s remorse and early guilty plea, Judge Priestley highlighted the need for accountability for his actions and emphasized the importance of maintaining a proper lookout while driving to prevent such tragedies. The community sentence was deemed appropriate for Bourke based on his lack of prior criminal record and efforts to address unrelated drug issues through rehabilitation and driving courses. Shipway’s resilience in the face of such adversity was recognized, and fundraising efforts continue to support his ongoing medical treatment.

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