Ronald Gallaty, 68, whose tipping truck collided with a bus on a sweeping bend south of Brisbane in 2016 killing the driver, is out of jail after successfully appealing his sentence.
Gallaty was just over half-way through serving at least 12 months of three-year prison sentence handed down during a judge-only Brisbane District Court trial last August.
The Queensland Appeal Court yesterday ordered that he receive a three-year prison sentence suspended immediately.
The Crown case was that an automatic stability control mechanism on the Mercedes Benz Actros activated because Gallaty was travelling into the bend at an excessive speed while towing a Hamelax White Tipping Trailer.
The incident occurred on a bend on Waterford Tamborine Road at Yarrabilba which has an 80km/h speed limit.
But shortly before the bend, drivers are advised to take the corner at 40km/h.
The defence, however, argued it was possible the trailer brakes locked up when a different brake system on the truck activated after incorrectly identifying the bus as an obstruction.
The Appeal Court judges found the facts of the case supported a conclusion that Gallaty’s dangerous operation of the truck, by entering the bend at an excessive speed, caused the death of bus driver Peter Bohlsen.
But they disagreed with the sentencing judge’s finding that Gallaty had “a cavalier attitude to operating … vehicles at a safe speed”.
“A traffic history containing six speeding offences over a 25-year period, in the context of a professional truck driver working full-time in the heavy vehicle industry for a period of 30 years, does not support findings that the applicant had a habit of driving his heavy vehicle beyond the limits of its safe operational capacity, or that he had a cavalier attitude to operating that vehicle at a safe speed,” the Appeal Court judges said in their judgment published on Wednesday.
“His mature years, his lack of prior criminal history and limited traffic history, in the context of genuine remorse and subsequent retirement from operating heavy vehicles, supports a conclusion that the principles of deterrence and denunciation can be adequately reflected in the imposition of such a head sentence, with the strong mitigating factors in his favour being reflected in a suspension of that sentence of imprisonment forthwith, for an operational period of three years.”
Gallaty is also disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for two years from the date of his conviction.