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Parents shocked at crash verdict

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Parents shocked at crash verdict

Post by shammy on Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:22 pm

Relatives of six teenagers killed when an out-of-control car ploughed into them as they left a 16th birthday party said yesterday that they were shocked the driver had been acquitted of culpable driving.

After three days of deliberation, a Victorian Supreme Court jury found Thomas Graham Towle not guilty yesterday of six counts of culpable driving after he veered into the teenagers at Cardross, near Mildura, on February 18, 2006.

But the 36-year-old, formerly of Red Cliffs, was found guilty of six counts of the alternative lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death and four counts of dangerous driving causing serious injury.

He was also found not guilty of two counts of reckless driving endangering serious injury, two counts of reckless driving causing serious injury and one count each of failing to stop and failing to render assistance.

The jury of six women and six men announced its verdict late yesterday afternoon. Several of them wiped away tears as the verdict was delivered. Towle stood motionless in the dock, his jaw clenched and his eyes downcast.

He then embraced his counsel, Robert Richter, QC, and hugged relatives after giving a quick glance to the journalists in the gallery.

The crash killed Shane Hirst, 16, his sister Abby Hirst, 17, Stevie-Lee Weight, 15, Cassandra Manners, 16, Cory Dowling, 16, and Josephine Calvi, 16.


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