Murderous drivers will be subject to harsher consequences under reforms being introduced into State Parliament today – to be named Charlotte’s Law.
The new law will provide more criteria in which authorities can charge someone with aggravated dangerous driving resulting in death.
The changes, initiated by the tragic death of Charlotte Pemberton and others are intended to bring penalties as expected by the community.
Ms Pemberton died after she was killed by a motorcyclist driving a high-powered motorcycle without a valid license, and was travelling 40 kilometers above the speed limit.
The driver was sentences to four years and three months in jail result of the charge.
The new law reduces the speed threshold to 30kmph and allows police to put in place aggravating circumstances for driving without a license, under suspension or disqualification.
Before the reform, a person could only be charged with aggravated dangerous driving under limited circumstances including, driving a vehicle 45 km/h above the limit, driving without the owner’s consent, and driving to escape police pursuit.
Both Premier Mark McGowan & Police Minister Michelle Roberts were joined Ms Pemberton’s family members at Parliament to make the announcement.
The Premier felt that Charlotte Pemberton’s story made a lasting personal impression on him and many other Western Australians.
“I’ve learned about what happened to Charlotte like everyone else through the media and I was deeply affected by that, and I thought we need to change the law,” Mr McGowan said.
“So that the families, like Charlotte’s family when they go through these situations they get to know that the law is on their side.”
Police and Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said that nothing will ever remove the pain of those who have lost loved ones.
But she believed the execution of Charlotte’s Law ensured the law is more sufficient in the future.
She hopes that families like the Pembertons and others don’t feel robbed by the judicial process.
“I hope it will also act as a significant deterrent to prevent the kind of tragedy that happened to Charlotte Pemberton and her family,” Mrs Roberts said.
“It’s also a reflection of the McGowan Government’s commitment to making our roads safer.”
The Liberal Opposition’s Police Spokesman Peter Katsambanis also commended the Pemberton Family for their dignity and courage to fight to see tougher laws.
However, he suggests the McGowan Government should impose a mandatory minimum sentence.
“There is absolutely no guarantee with the government’s new laws that penalties will increase, or that it will double,” Mr Katsambanis said.
“It indicates that it’s a sentiment but it’s not backed up legislation, which would make a real difference on a day to day bases in our court system.”