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Australia 'Unjust' jail term increased for serial car thief who killed five-year-old boy in Perth highway crash

08:20  05 august  2020
08:20  05 august  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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The father of a five - year - old boy who was killed in a horrific car crash in Perth says his son’s life was worth more than the prison sentence handed down. Matthew David Molloy had been driving at about 96km/h in a 70 zone in the lead-up to the rear-end crash in Perth on December 29 last year that

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A career criminal who had been out of jail for only a month when he smashed a stolen ute into a family van, killing a five-year-old boy, has had his jail term increased by two and a half years.

Matthew David Molloy was speeding on Leach Highway in Wilson in December 2018 when he ran into the back of the stationary van which was carrying eight members of the same family, forcing it into a supermarket delivery truck in front of it.

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It was estimated he was travelling about 96 kilometres per hour in what was a 70 kph zone.

Molloy fled the scene, leaving behind the injured family including Edwin Tjandra, his wife Cynthia and their two sons, Franciscus, 6 and Leonardus, 5, whose life support system was switched off in hospital about two weeks later.

Molloy had a long criminal history with numerous convictions for car theft and his sentencing hearing was told after he was released from prison he had relapsed into heroin use.

He pleaded guilty to a string of offences and in September last year he was sentenced to seven years and six months in jail, meaning he would have been eligible for parole after five-and-a-half years.

Original sentence 'unreasonable': court

The sentence angered Mr Tjandra and prosecutors lodged an appeal against the term, arguing it was manifestly inadequate.

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Today in a unanimous judgement, the Court of Appeal ruled Molloy's sentence should be increased to 10 years.

He will now be eligible for parole in eight years, meaning with time already served he could be released in December 2026.

In its judgement, the Court of Appeal said the original sentence was "not commensurate with the seriousness of the offences".

"Significant weight had to be given to personal and general deterrence and the protection of vulnerable members of the public in motor vehicles on public roads," it said.

"The total effective sentence was unreasonable or plainly unjust. It was not merely 'lenient' or 'at the lower end of the available range'.

"The total effective sentence was substantially less than the total effective sentence that was open to [the sentencing judge] on a proper exercise of his discretion."

Not enough for father as he calls for tougher laws

Mr Tjandra was in the appeal court for the decision and afterwards said he still believed it was "a far from sufficient" sentence.

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"You bear this grief for [a] lifetime, so you also hope that the other side bear it for a lifetime," he said.

He called on Premier Mark McGowan and Police Minister Michelle Roberts to toughen up sentences for drivers who kill innocent people.

"I propose … that they not increase the maximum penalty but they put a minimum penalty, especially for repeat offenders. This guy had no licence and he is a danger to our society," he said.

"We know that here in WA, our Premier does such good work to deal with COVID-19, but more people die on our streets than to COVID-19. That's the fact, that's the statistic that you have.

"I'm challenging the Premier to do much better in preventing deaths on our streets."

Mr Tjandra said since his son's death, the family had lived "day by day".

"What I want is no more deaths on our streets, especially unnecessary death that can be avoided," he said.

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