Desmond Petersen sentenced to four and a half years jail for leaving accident where two people died

Desmond James Petersen was sentenced on Monday 19/1/15 for 4 years and 6 months jail over the incident in October 2013 where two pedestrians died after being hit by Mr Petersen’s vehicle. 

Mr Petersen was the driver of a Holden Rodeo that hit two people on Chapman Valley Road on October 5th, 2013.

Mr Petersen left the scene of the accident. 

The victims both died at the scene. 

Mr Petersen was found guilty in November of leaving the scene of an accident, failing to render assistance and failing to report an accident to the Police. 

Desmond Petersen sat expressionless while the judge recounted the events of October 5 2013 and handed down the sentence. 

Prior to reading the sentence, Judge Ronald Birmingham pointed out Mr Petersen’s prior drink driving record, and noted that Mr Petersen was less than a week away from losing his licence when the fateful incident occurred. He stated he did not believe Mr Petersen’s explanation of being in fear for his own safety, but he believed Mr Petersen only thought of himself and the trouble he would be in because he had been consuming alcohol prior to the accident. 

Desmond James Petersen. Pic: Supplied.

Desmond James Petersen. Pic: Supplied.

The judge repeatedly used the term “callous disregard” while describing the actions of Mr Petersen, stating he showed no clear expression of remorse or regret, and actually took active steps to inhibit the Police investigation by hiding his vehicle and consuming more alcohol after the incident. 

The judge also reminded Mr Petersen he was NOT being sentenced for killing the two people he hit, as it was impossible to determine exactly who was at fault. But instead for failing to do what any responsible driver should have done, in staying at the scene, rendering assistance and reporting the accident to the Police. 

Two of the three charges were each given a 2 year and 6 month sentence, which are to be served concurrently. 

The final charge was given 2 years which will be served cumulatively, making the total jail sentence 4 years and 6 months. 

Mr Petersen was told he would be eligible for parole after 2 and a half years.

The sentence will be backdated to the 21st of November 2014, which was when Mr Petersen was first taken into custody.

Mr Petersen will also be suspended from driving for four years after his release from jail. 

Mounted Police were part of an increased Police presence in Geraldton during the sentencing hearing, following protests that occurred in November 2013. However the day passed without incident.