An Australian father has avoided being sent to jail after his son was killed in a quad bike accident.
Christopher Browne was riding the bike on Christmas Day in 2020 along with his two-year-old son Lincoln at his Barnawartha North property, which is close to the NSW border.
According to News Corp, court documents revealed Browne was driving the buggy with one hand and holding Lincoln with the other. No one was wearing a helmet at the time.
He was doing doughnuts on a paddock when, on the final one, the quad bike wheels dug into the ground and flipped over.
Browne’s partner tried to do CPR on the toddler, however the injuries were too severe and he died at the scene.
The father admitted to having up to three alcoholic drinks during the Christmas brunch, however tests confirmed there was no alcohol in his system after the crash.
The father was later charged with dangerous driving causing death.
During his trial, the court heard how Lincoln’s death has led to Browne suffering from ‘severe’ symptoms of PTSD.
A psychologist and GP both presented reports indicating how deeply the incident has affected the 32-year-old.
The court was also told that if Browne was sent to prison then it could affect the family business and cause employees to suffer.
Browne’s lawyer, Tom Danos, explained how Lincoln’s death has left the father struggling to continue living.
The court heard how the only thing that keeps Browne going is ‘the responsibility of his wife and [remaining] child’.
Judge Michael Cahill revealed that he would spare Browne from going to jail.
“I have formed the view in all the circumstances in this case that a community correction order is the appropriate sentence for Mr Browne,” the judge said.
“Living with the loss of his child is punishment more than any court could impose.”
Judge Cahill recognised that Browne was extremely remorseful for the incident and jail time would only add to his fragile mental state.
He will now be assessed for a community corrections order, which prosecutors called ‘highly unusual’ for a case like this.
“There should be a very significant amount of unpaid community work attached to such an order given that the order’s really being made in lieu of what would otherwise be imprisonment,” Prosecutor Erin Ramsay said.
His case will return to court next week for formal sentencing.