Drunk NT teen in jail over woman's death

Greg Roberts

A Northern Territory teenager banned from drinking alcohol after committing a sex crime has been jailed for three years after killing a mother of three while drink driving.

Martin Shields, then 18, had part of his prison sentence suspended over a conviction for attempted sexual intercourse without consent and was released in late 2018.

The strict conditions of release included that he not consume alcohol and NT Government agency Territory Families was responsible for supervising him.

However, on the afternoon of January 24 he was driving a car with four passenger south of Darwin with his licence expired and after drinking alcohol for several hours.

He ignored his passengers' protests that he was driving dangerously and lost control, causing the car to roll and land on its roof, throwing three of the passengers out.

Janette Ellis, a 30-year-old mother of three, was killed while Shields' 43-year-old uncle and a 19-year-old man suffered serious injuries.

A woman who was 34 weeks pregnant and the only passenger wearing a seatbelt escaped serious injury along with her unborn baby.

Shields had collided with the back of a ute less than 15 minutes earlier but drove off.

He had been due to be sentenced in February this year, but was given the chance to undergo treatment for alcohol abuse.

However, he again breached a bail condition not to drink alcohol, causing a disturbance at his mother's house in late May in which she rang police.

It was revealed last year Shields had breached court supervision orders not to drink alcohol four times in four weeks before the fatal crash, which included being intoxicated or refusing urine tests by Territory Families agency workers.

Crown prosecutor Stephen Geary and Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency defence lawyer Beth Wild told the Supreme Court at the time that Territory Families had failed in its supervision role, which should have meant Shields went back to jail.

Crown prosecutor Matt Nathan said Shields had not taken the opportunity of rehabilitation treatment and "the court must have little to no confidence" in him and that he posed a risk to the community.

He had an upbringing in NT indigenous communities marked by alcohol abuse, domestic violence and neglect, the court heard.

Justice Stephen Southwood sentenced him to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and serious harm but with time served and part of it suspended he could be released in July next year.

He will not be allowed to drink alcohol, will be electronically monitored and have to undergo treatment for more than a year after release.