Tragedy for truckie, refugee on Rockhampton road
SHATTERED bones, memory loss, poor balance and lifelong injuries are the price a 60-year-old truck driver had to pay for one motorist's lapse in attention.
The man responsible, Sakhi Dad, has been on bail for the last two years, separated from his wife and three daughters who live in Pakistan as he suffers the consequences of running a red light on October 25, 2014.
On Tuesday, the District Court of Rockhampton heard how several seconds on the road resulted in tragedy for both men after Dad, then 36, was "dragged by a friend" to the Zodiac night club in an attempt to stop him "hibernating at home" during a low point in his life.
He left the club at 3.30am and as he drove through the intersection of High St and Moores Creek Rd, ran a light which had been red for "some period of time" and collided with a prime mover carrying two trailers about 4.20am.
Dad's car hit the nose of the truck, which rolled into a gully near Kershaw Gardens and left the driver trapped for hours before emergency services pulled him free.
Read the story from the day of the crash here: Truck driver still critical after banana truck smash in Rocky
Dad had three schooners of beer that night, but returned a blood alcohol concentration of zero.
The truck driver was comatose for three weeks and hospitalised for five months.
He suffered fractured ribs, air between his lungs and chest wall, bruises and bleeding into the lungs, a broken collarbone, broken bones near the shoulder blade, tibia and fibia, among other extensive injuries.
Two years on, he has only just started to drive again, suffers memory loss, has trouble with balance and has undergone a multitude of surgeries.
Dad's head hung low as the court heard of the tragedies he had encountered throughout his life: the loss of a younger brother to a tractor crash, and the other having disappeared.
As judge Helen Bowskill QC handed down Sakhi Dad's sentence for the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm, she conceded "the circumstances were plainly tragic and equally as tragic for you (Dad) to be standing in this court".
The court heard Dad had no criminal history and was of "otherwise good character".
Judge Bowskill conceded he had suffered a life riddled with heartache and challenges "most people walking around on the street would not have to deal with, and you continue to deal with the separation of your family".
Dad's defence barrister Tom Polley told the court Dad was born to a poverty- stricken family in Afghanistan and was forced to flee his hometown between six and eight years.
Denied a proper education due to his status, Dad went to "remarkable lengths" to become educated to the equivalent of a masters in sociology and political science.
He speaks six languages and reads and writes fluently in four, which landed him a job first as an English teacher at the schools he had attended, before he worked as a translator for the Allied Forces in Pakistan.
During this time, Mr Polley told the court Dad experienced ambushes, fire fights and the "anguish" in the middle of the military and those they raided.
When his identity became compromised, Dad was granted a humanitarian visa for Australia four years ago.
Mr Polley told the court the Central Queensland community may be familiar with Dad's work with the Multicultural Development Association, which extended beyond business hours to assist other refugees.
He said a police recording immediately after the crash revealed Dad's only concern was for the truck driver.
In his submission, Polley shared an abstract from Dad's letter to the court which stated, "I'm very sorry to the complainant, he never wanted to cause this much pain with innocent people".
Judge Bowskill said though there was no "criminal intent" behind Dad's offending, it was of a very serious nature and on top of the injuries, caused more than half-a-million dollars damage to the truck.
Further, Dad's driver's licence had expired the previous day and he was driving an unregistered vehicle at the time.
Dad was handed a head sentence of 18 months imprisonment suspended after three months in custody with an operational period of two years.
He was disqualified from driving for six months.