No sentence appeal for driver who killed four children
The drunk and drugged driver who killed four children walking along a Sydney footpath to buy ice-creams has failed in his final bid to reduce his sentence.
The High Court on Friday refused special leave to hear Samuel William Davidson's appeal that he had been subject to an unfair amount of jail time due to the incorrect use of sentencing principles.
Davidson was driving erratically and speeding when he struck Veronique Sakr, 11, and her cousins, Sienna Abdallah, eight, and her siblings Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13.
The professional truck driver ploughed into them after his ute mounted a kerb at Oatlands, in Sydney's northwest on February 1, 2020.
Stephen Odgers SC, representing Davidson, said Davidson had prior good character, with the offence leading to his first time in custody.
This meant he had a good chance of being rehabilitated.
He said how parole and non-parole periods were determined in relation to the length of a sentence meant people with a better chance of rehabilitation were left worse off.
"It is very odd that a person with good prospects is worse off than a person with poor prospects," the barrister told the court.
"But in NSW, good prospects of rehabilitation hurt you."
Mr Odgers added that if the case was to be heard, the defence would raise the issue of Davidson's ADHD, but conceded it wasn't a basis for which the appeal should be granted.
Davidson was re-sentenced to a term of 20 years with 15 years non-parole after the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal concluded his original term was manifestly excessive.
He was initially jailed in April 2021 for 28 years with a non-parole period of 21 years.
Davidson had pleaded guilty to four counts of manslaughter and to charges related to injuries caused to three other children in the crash.
Crown prosecutor Helen Robertson SC said the differences of the two sentences did "not demonstrate fundamentally different principles" nor did they pose an issue to the law applied in NSW.
"There is no correct sentence," she said.
"It is up to the discretion of the sentencing judge."
Ms Robertson pointed out most sentences were reduced in the lower courts because of special circumstances, but acknowledged Mr Odgers was referring to long sentences.
In her reasoning for the refusal, Chief Justice Susan Kiefel said the appeal was likely to be unsuccessful.