A YOUNG driver who killed a woman after partying all night and then falling asleep behind the wheel was yesterday fined a total of $1700. County Court Judge Liz Gaynor earlier ordered a jury to acquit Ashley Marriott, 21, of culpable driving causing the death of Kathryn Gemes and negligently causing serious injury to Mrs Gemes' husband, Arpad.
Outside the court, Mr Gemes expressed his disappointment with the judge's decision. "We, as a family, hold no grudges. But, as a family, we find the fact that it didn't get to the jury to decide a difficult pill to swallow," he said.
After hearing all the prosecution evidence, Judge Gaynor directed the jury to acquit Marriot on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction.
Later, Marriott pleaded guilty to careless driving and driving an unroadworthy car. In sentencing him, Judge Gaynor told him that what he did on the day was dreadful and had horrifying consequences for the Gemes family, his family and himself. She convicted and fined him $1200 for careless driving and fined him $500 on the unroadworthy charge.
The jury heard this week Marriott, then 18, had little sleep before he drove from his house in Mildura to attend a Melbourne Cup eve rave party.
Marriott was awake all night at the rave party then drove to a relative's house in the outer eastern suburbs before heading back to the city about 11am on Cup Day. He had two passengers in the car. They were both asleep.
While driving on Whitehorse Rd, Mont Albert, Marriot nodded off. His unroadworthy car veered on to the footpath and struck Mr and Mrs Gemes.
Mrs Gemes was killed and her husband suffered multiple broken bones. Marriott pleaded not guilty to culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury.
© 2004 News Limited