Dad slams system after meth truckie freed
THE father of a woman who suffered a severe brain injury in a highway crash has labelled the justice system "a joke" moments after the iced-up truck driver responsible was told he wouldn't go to jail.
Tully woman Sari Hyytinen will have to give up her career as a journalist, and she's already had to stop her Masters study into forensic mental health because of a traumatic brain injury from the crash.
At the time of the crash truck driver Marc Anthony Palmer had methylamphetamines and amphetamines in his system, but it was not suggested in court that this had any impact on his driving ability.
In fact Judge Dean Morzone said, if anything, it would have made him "more alert".
"Indeed if it had some effect it would likely have made you more alert and therefore avoided the accident rather ironically," Judge Morzone said.
The 36-year-old father of two was handed a wholly suspended two-year jail term and nine-month driving ban after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.
Disgusted by the outcome, Veli Hyytinen said, "What a joke. My daughter nearly died and he got off scot-free".
The Cairns District Court heard Palmer had missed two signs signalling upcoming roadworks on the Bruce Hwy between Midgenoo and Tully Mission Beach Rd on September 23, 2016.
Ms Hyytinen's ute had been at the end of eight cars.
Crown prosecutor Nicole Friedewald said Palmer had braked just three to four second before his prime mover slammed into the ute forcing it into a caravan.
"She would have died without medical treatment," Ms Friedewald said.
Defence barrister Gavin Hansen told the court, "if there's ever a case for a non-custodial sentence this is it."
"He didn't see the cars in front," Mr Hansen said, adding that Palmer had not been trained to make an emergent stop in an empty prime mover.
"At the scene he was very remorseful and caring for her. He's going to suffer forever."
Ms Friedewald said any mention about Palmer's efforts of drug rehabilitation should be taken "with caution" because no medical report had been tendered.
"No one really wins out of these types of cases," Judge Morzone said, accepting that Palmer carried "an overwhelming burden of guilt".