Garbo jailed for 'callous' alley incident

·3-min read

In an alley beside a Sydney CBD McDonald's, Tuiniua Fine put on gloves and dragged the body of a man he'd run over out of the way.

That act by the garbage truck driver was "nothing short of callous, appalling and morally reprehensible," said a judge when jailing him on Friday until 2025.

Economics tutor George Yuhan Lin, 21, had been walking along Central Street looking at his phone when hit from behind in the early hours of February 12, 2020.

His killer, 53, had been reversing at a speed of about 15km/h, 5km/h over the limit for the shared pedestrian/vehicle roadway.

Telling police he first thought he hit a milk crate or a wooden pallet, Fine gloved up and exited the truck.

But faced with Mr Lin, who was either on the verge of dying or had already passed, Fine dragged the tutor's body more than 10 metres to an alcove.

He then got back to work, reversed further down the alley, fetched garbage bins and emptied them before driving from the scene 11 minutes after impact.

Judge Sarah Huggett said several people travelled along Central St in that time but the driver provided "no attempt" to alert others.

A passer-by eventually saw what he thought was a sleeping Mr Lin before noticing the catastrophic injuries.

While Judge Huggett appreciated the relatively low maximum speed and distance of Fine's crime, she deemed the driving manner "very dangerous" given his failure to look while reversing.

The truck was fitted with side mirrors, a reversing camera and rear lights.

"(He took) a calculated risk of a very serious kind and a significant departure from his obligations as a heavy vehicle driver," the Sydney District Court judge said.

Arrested hours later, Fine suggested he hadn't looked as people normally get out of his way.

He said he hadn't called for help as "I was blank in my head ... I didn't know what to do".

He pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity to dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop and assist after a fatal incident, and doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice.

Fine later told a psychologist how he wished "I was under the wheel, I wish it was me".

The judge accepted Fine was of previous good character, was remorseful and understood the "devastating impact" of taking a "much-loved son from his family well before his time".

Mr Lin's mother told the court last week she visited her son's grave every day.

"This is the only way I can get close to my son now," Eileen Xie said.

Judge Huggett rated Fine's reoffending risk low and his rehabilitation chances good.

With a 25 per cent cut for his early plea, Fine was handed a total term of five years and six months, backdated to his arrest.

His non-parole period of three years and eight months will expire in October 2023.

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