Hervey Bay's Donald Gayler leaves the courthouse in Maryborough, after being sentenced for driving without due care and attention.
Hervey Bay's Donald Gayler leaves the courthouse in Maryborough, after being sentenced for driving without due care and attention.

Driver fined over deaths launches online tirade

A SOLICITOR whose careless driving killed two young siblings last year has launched an extraordinary tirade against mandatory sentencing after the families of his victims questioned his fine.

Hervey Bay man Donald Gayler, 67, had a "momentary lapse in attention" in April last year while driving home from Brisbane after a 20-hour flight from ­England.

Sarah, 30, and Daniel Walker, 22 were killed instantly after a fiery, multi-vehicle crash on the Bruce Highway, south of Maryborough.
Sarah, 30, and Daniel Walker, 22 were killed instantly after a fiery, multi-vehicle crash on the Bruce Highway, south of Maryborough.

The crash killed Bundaberg siblings Daniel and Sarah Walker, aged 22 and 30, and seriously injured Sarah's son Sam, 14, as well as the group's friend, Peter Knowles, 25.

Mr Gayler was fined $3000, convicted and disqualified from driving for three months following the crash.

The court's decision prompted mass outrage and became the catalyst for the State Government to alter its dangerous driving causing death laws to give magistrates greater power when sentencing.

Hervey Bay's Donald Gayler leaves the courthouse in Maryborough, after being sentenced for driving without due care and attention.
Hervey Bay's Donald Gayler leaves the courthouse in Maryborough, after being sentenced for driving without due care and attention.

Mr Gayler's law firm, Gayler De Vere Legal, has published an article on its website called "Don's Dynamite".

The piece said people calling for mandatory jail for driving offences were "agitators".

Ms Walker’s boyfriend Victor Bosley, mother Kerri Walker and Trisha Mabley, mother of Peter Knowles, who was hurt in the crash.
Ms Walker’s boyfriend Victor Bosley, mother Kerri Walker and Trisha Mabley, mother of Peter Knowles, who was hurt in the crash.

"So think of it like this - you have a sound reputation, both in the community and in business,"  the article reads.

"You might even have an unblemished driving record - but if there is a mandatory term of imprisonment set for your offence, then it doesn't matter what a jury might think, it doesn't even matter what the presiding judge might think.

"You get the mandatory sentence and you go to gaol for the mandatory period.

"Agitators in the community seek mandatory gaol sentences for all types of offences."

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Mr Gayler's article also questioned whether murderers should be given mandatory jail, such as in cases of domestic violence.

The Courier-Mail called Mr Gayler's firm yesterday. When asked to explain, senior paralegal Lauren De Vere said "absolutely not" and would not comment further.

Ms Walker's grieving boyfriend Victor Bosley said the article was "jaw-dropping" and that the firm should be ashamed.

The scene of the firey crash near Tiaro. Picture: Alistair Brightman
The scene of the firey crash near Tiaro. Picture: Alistair Brightman

"It really sounds to me like someone is trying to justify their recent actions and their own s**tty decision making," he said.

"And then to have the gall to call innocent members of the community 'agitators'.

"These agitators are the innocent victims of this man's actions and they're on a mission to make Queensland roads safer for all of those who use them."

Kerri Walker with portraits of her children Daniel and Sarah, who were killed in the crash.
Kerri Walker with portraits of her children Daniel and Sarah, who were killed in the crash.