10 May 2023

Slap on the wrist for man who ran over Michael Bowden

| Cape York Weekly
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Vincent Edwards, 26, will be eligible for parole in early May after being sentenced at the Weipa Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

His 20-year-old victim was likely killed “almost immediately” when he was struck by a car driven by Edwards, 26 on Northern Avenue on June 9, 2018 – the weekend of the Weipa Fishing Classic.

Magistrate Jacqui Payne heard that Edwards, a father of one, was aware he had hit a person, but did not stop and drove on to go fishing, despite passing an ambulance.

Edwards pleaded guilty to failing to remain at the scene.

He was handed a nine-month jail term but will likely spend less than 100 days behind bars.

Police were unable to charge him with more serious offences and the fail to remain charge carried a 12-month maximum sentence at the time of the incident.

It has since been changed to a maximum of three years.

Magistrate Payne described the incident as a “terrible accident” where he “ran over a person he did not expect would be lying on a darkened road”.

However, she also said Edwards showed “callous disregard” for Mr Bowden, who was believed to have been intoxicated lying on the road, when he failed to stop and try to assist him, the Cairns Post reported.

“Even though this happened in a split second Mr Edwards knew his car had struck a person,” she said.

“(He and his passenger) continued with their plans to get bait and go fishing. He saw an ambulance nearby and did not approach (it).”

Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane said Edwards told police he had smoked ice before driving his vehicle.

“That someone would be left alone on a roadway to die is horrific to the general community,” he said.

Defence barrister James Sheridan said Edwards was forced to leave town, such was the public vilification, and he was “lost for words” after reading the victim impact statement penned by Mr Bowden’s mother Rachael.

The statement described the “horror of horrors” Mr Bowden’s family faced.

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