Truck driver facing jail over fatal crash

·2-min read

A Sydney truck driver who was momentarily distracted before a fatal collision with a van last year is facing the prospect of imprisonment.

Joseph Paul Winters, also known as Joseph Crowley, collided with a broken-down van on the Cumberland Highway in Smithfield on April 15, 2021, killing its driver Aziz Alhanyan, who leaves behind his five children.

At a sentence hearing at Parramatta District Court on Friday, crown prosecutor Yvette Prowse said jail time was appropriate.

"In order to give effect to the purposes of sentencing including the recognition of harm to the community, the family ... the Crown would say that the only available sentence is one of full-time imprisonment," she said.

Winters has pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving occasioning death. He has also admitted a separate charge of driving in a dangerous manner resulting in bodily harm to another individual Abdul Al-Turfi.

Dashcam footage from an Uber driver taken on the night shows Mr Alhanyan's van parked by the side of the road with its hazard lights on. Seconds later, Winters' Isuzu truck slams into the van with a deafening sound.

After seeing this footage, Judge Andrew Colefax noted there was no impediment to Winters seeing the van which clearly had its blinking hazard lights on.

Winters' barrister Wali Shukoor said his client had not been paying enough attention when the crash occurred.

However, Mr Shukoor said that Winters had not completely abandoned his responsibility as driver of the truck, submitting that a prison sentence was not appropriate in this situation,

Instead, Winters should be placed under an intensive corrections order or home detention, the court heard.

While Winters had faced prior criminal offences for possessing recreational drugs, he had not been in trouble with the law for 10 years and was a reformed man, Mr Shukoor said.

"He does not in my submission represent a danger to society in a way that he may have much earlier in life when he was much younger," he told the court.

Winters, who sat in the dock staring down at the floor for most of the hearing, was genuinely sorry for what he had done and sympathised with the family members of both victims, the barrister added.

Speaking outside court, Mr Alhanyan's brother Waleed Al-Turfi said the family wanted Winters to be imprisoned to send a message to the community.

"We want Joseph Winters to be put inside jail so he can learn his lesson. Not only him but the community."

Mr Alhanyan's death had a devastating impact on the family including the children who now did not have a father, he said.

Mr Shukoor would not comment on the ongoing case outside court but acknowledged it was a very sad situation.

Judge Colefax will deliver his sentence on August 12.

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