A disqualified, speeding, drug-fuelled driver who killed a schoolboy on a Sydney pedestrian crossing has had his “manifestly inadequate' sentence increased by appeal court judges.
Rabih Abdulrahman smoked a cigarette as witnesses provided first aid, leading the boy's father to describe his failure to rescue his son as “absolutely breaking all moral bottom lines, and made our hearts chill”.
Abdulrahman was jailed in the NSW District Court in September for six years and 10 months with a non-parole period of four years and six months.
The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on Friday allowed a crown challenge, increasing his term to 10 years and two months with a non-parole period of six years and eight months
Abdulrahman, who was 36 at the time, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and driving while disqualified on September 6, 2019 when he struck the 12-year-old boy who was walking to school at Hurstville.
His 12-year-old friend was just behind him when the car's bonnet struck the victim as he was half-way across the pedestrian crossing.
The three appeal court judges accepted the crown submission that the sentence was”manifestly inadequate” for the very serious example of vehicular manslaughter.
They also agreed the sentencing judge erred in failing to take into account the need for specific deterrence of Abdulrahman and the need to protect the community from him.
Before the crash he had been driving “erratically and merging between lanes without indicating” forcing other drivers to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
He was driving at approximately 65km/h at the time of the crash outside Hurstville Public School, despite the maximum speed being 40km/h.
He had driven through a red light and his car ended up mounting the kerb outside the school, dislodging a traffic light cemented into the footpath and crashing into a metal fence.
“When the car came to a complete stop the victim was thrown to the ground near the rear passenger side door of the vehicle” the agreed facts said.
“His head was near the rear end of the car. His body was partially underneath the car. He was bleeding heavily from his head.”
While witnesses, including teachers, tried to help the boy, Abdulrahman got out of the driver's seat and looked at the child's body.
“He collected his bag from the car. He got his mobile phone which was plugged into a charger in the car.
“He deleted messages from his phone while standing on the footpath near his car.
“He smoked a cigarette. He did not assist or offer to assist as the witnesses were providing first aid.”
He was found to have a cocktail of drugs in his system including prescribed substances and the illegal drugs amphetamine and methylamphetamine.
At the time he was disqualified and subject to an intensive corrections order, after being convicted in October 2018 of driving while under the influence of drugs and resisting a police officer in execution of their duty.
In his victim impact statement, the boy's father said the loss of their son had “broken the completeness of our family, and has caused our entire family to descend into never-ending pain for the rest of our lives”.
The other boy also described the trauma and anxiety he feels from having watched his friend die.
In re-sentencing Abdulrahman, Justice Robert Beech-Jones accepted he was remorseful but found his prospects of rehabilitation to be poor.
“I consider that there is a real potential that that he will reoffend in a reasonably serious manner in the future,” he said.