Hit-and-run offender hid and watched scene after crash
THE Nimbin man responsible for killing a beloved local woman in a hit-and-run incident will remain behind bars until at least next year.
Jimi Knight, 33, faced Lismore District Court via video link from Nowra Correctional Centre for sentencing on Friday.
Knight had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death and dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.
He had been driving east along Cecil St, Nimbin, having come from Cullen St, speeding and at least for a portion of the time on the wrong side of the road, about 7pm on April 18 last year, the court heard.
Knight swerved to avoid two teenage girls his Subaru had been travelling toward, before striking Tonia Jansen, 62, and a man, 63.
Investigators found Ms Jansen was carried on the bonnet for about 80 metres before she was flung to the roadway.
The car's windscreen shattered from the impact and despite efforts to revive her, she died at the scene.
The collision occurred in a narrow section of the road.
The court heard Knight dumped his car near his nearby home and returned to the scene afterwards, to find others were rendering assistance.
He hid in bushes nearby and watched emergency services work at the scene, the court heard.
Knight hitchhiked to Pottsville the following day and fled to Queensland but on May 13, 2019, he contacted Lismore police.
He initially denied having driven dangerously or at speed.
In sentencing Knight, Judge Jeffrey McLennan said he could not use the fact he fled the scene to increase the penalty for his charges.
Knight was not convicted of a separate charge for failing to stop and help.
Instead, he said those circumstances could be used "to deny leniency that would otherwise be available to an offender".
"The conduct clearly demonstrates a consciousness of guilt, in my view," Judge McLennan said.
Judge McLennan found Knight's manner of driving, considering various factors, sat in the mid range of objective seriousness.
He said Knight's criminal history "deprives him of leniency" in sentencing as does his driving history.
He was a P-plater and on bail for an unrelated offence at the time, the court heard.
The court heard Knight had a background marked by disadvantage and Judge McLennan found he had shown genuine remorse.
The court heard many factors had contributed to his ultimate penalty.
"A term of imprisonment that's going to be imposed in this case is not some mathematical expression of the value of Tonia Jansen," he said.
"I have read the victim impact statements of her siblings and her children.
"Ms Jansen was clearly a vibrant, creative 62-year-old woman who was much-loved and had much more to share."
He said the impact on those loved ones "should be taken into account" to show the "harm done to the community".
Taking into account time served on remand, he sentenced Knight to three years imprisonment, including an 18-month non-parole period.
The sentence was backdated to March 12 this year and he will be first eligible for parole from September 2021.