1. An accused will be found to have driven a motor vehicle culpably if she or he was driving in one of the following ways:
- reckless driving – the accused consciously and unjustifiably disregarded a substantial risk that the death of another person, or the infliction of grievous bodily harm upon another person, might have resulted from her or his driving.
- negligent driving – the accused unjustifiably and to a gross degree failed to observe the standard of care which a reasonable person would have observed in all the circumstances of the case.
- driving whilst under the influence of alcohol – the accused was impaired by alcohol to such an extent that she or he was incapable of having proper control of the motor vehicle.
- driving whilst under the influence of a drug – the accused was impaired by drugs to such an extent that she or he was incapable of having proper control of the motor vehicle.
2. The jury found that Singh was not guilty of culpable driving causing death. This followed the judge ruling out telling the jury that Singh had a small amount of methamphetamine in his system at the time of the crash to ensure he received a fair trial. As Singh had already pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death (and guilty to failing to have an experienced driver with him in the car) he was sentenced for this.
3. Responses will vary. Students are likely to conclude that Singh should have been found guilty of culpable driving. For example, students might point out that he had a small amount of methamphetamine in his system at the time of the crash. In other words, Singh was driving whilst under the influence of a drug.
4. Responses will vary. Students might point out, for example, that the victim, JohnVoss, and his future dreams and aspirations has been lost. His family and friends will need to deal with grief, pain, anger, distress or emotional trauma. Friends and family may also have needed to deal with the ensuing investigation and court case, which can be stressful. The offender, Sukhuinder Singh is also affected as he was imprisoned – this can have an effect on his family as well as his freedom. Furthermore, Singh will need to live with the feeling of guilt that, through his actions, he has caused someone else’s death.
5. Responses will vary. Students might point out, for example, thatthe financial costs associated with assistance to victims, motor vehicle insurance, as well as the identification, investigation, prosecution and prevention of crimes such as culpable driving, have a negative economic impact. There is also an increased need for emergency services, such as police, fire and ambulance services as well as the added cost to the health system as victims are hospitalised and require expensive treatment and rehabilitation over time. There are also emotional and/or human costs associated with people becoming more anxious or fearful driving on our roads in light of the increased risk of road accidents and trauma. In addition, dealing with a car accident is likely to be a traumatic experience for emergency workers and other road users.