Man jailed for 8 years over collision that killed his son

By Liz Mellino

Screams of anger filled a Shepparton courtroom on Tuesday afternoon as the family of a young boy killed in a collision last year listened to the eight-year jail sentence handed down to his father.

The mother of Daniel Baksh, 12, who was killed during the collision, stormed out of Shepparton's County Court on Tuesday after her son's father Thomas Richard Baksh, 36, was sentenced to eight years in jail for his death.

Baksh, who previously pleaded guilty to one charge of culpable driving causing death and two charges of conduct endangering life, will be eligible for parole in five years’ time.

Following Tuesday's decision, Baksh waved goodbye to his family sitting in the courtroom before police escorted him away.

When sentencing, Judge Gavan Meredith acknowledged the "catastrophic impact" of Baksh's offending and the profound suffering it had caused to Daniel's family.

“The sentence which I impose can never represent a value on the life of Daniel, a young boy loved and with great potential for the future,” he said.

“Nor can my sentence ever remove the pain of those left behind.”

The court previously heard the charges arose from a fatal collision on Wangauni Rd in Shepparton on August 4 last year.

Baksh, who was driving the vehicle at the time of the collision, had drank close to 40 cans of alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

While travelling on Wanganui Rd, Baksh lost control of the vehicle causing it to spin out of control and collide with a wooden power pole, killing Daniel.

When sentencing, Judge Meredith said he took into account the seriousness of the offence, Baksh's culpability, his personal circumstances, the community's interest in deterring and denouncing the conduct, and his rehabilitation.

“The courts must send a message to those who would drive as you did, that if they do they will face significant consequences,” he said.

The court heard Baksh was on bail for breaching a family violence intervention order at the time of the offending.

Judge Meredith, who referred to Baksh as an "alcoholic", said he accepted Baksh had experienced a background of disadvantage acknowledging he had started using cannabis and alcohol at the age of 13.

The court heard Baksh had been in a men's recovery program in Toolamba for the past year where he had remained abstinent and was described as an "exemplary participant" in the program.

Judge Meredith said he was satisfied Baksh demonstrated genuine remorse for the offending and accepted his reason for alcoholism and drug abuse and their link to the offending.

“I accept that you will be burdened and haunted by causing the death of your son for the rest of your life,” he said.

Baksh has already served 60 days in pre-sentence detention.

He was disqualified from driving on Victorian roads for 5 1/2 years.


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