Warrior widow's plea for harsher laws
TODAY a family farewell a son, father, husband and a cyclist killed doing what he loved.
Yolanda Brady knows that feeling first-hand.
Her former partner Stephen Small was deliberately hit by a ute being driven by a man under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Mr Small's son Oscar (pictured with Stephen far right) was four at the time and not a day goes by where his dad is forgotten.
Which is why Ms Brady is calling for harsher penalties and mandatory life sentencing for deliberate actions which cause the death of another road user.
"If we want to make roads safer for cyclists and other vulnerable users there needs to be a harsher penalty for motorists doing the wrong thing," she said.
"They need to understand if they are drinking, or on drugs, and they drive then kill someone then they could go to jail for life. Not four years."
She said those who deliberately hit road users - whether they be cyclists, people changing wheels on the side of the road, police issuing fines or truck drivers fixing loads - should feel the full weight of the law with punishment befitting the crime.
Those deliberate actions include taking drugs, being intoxicated or using their phone while driving.
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Mr Small was struck down in a vicious attack at the hands of Nathan Craig MacDonald. He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, admitting to being intoxicated at the time and leaving the scene before police arrived.
McDonald is eligible to apply for parole in March 2020, four years after the crash.
At the time of sentencing, crown prosecutor Sam Bain told the court MacDonald did not brake or stop when he ploughed into Mr Small from behind, killing him instantly.
Judge John Robertson said Mr Small had no chance to take evasive action as MacDonald drove into him, the left side of his ute fully in the marked bike lane.
At the time he said "over 20 years and this is one of the most serious examples of dangerous driving causing death that I've come across".
Less than 30 minutes earlier, McDonald and vehicle passenger Corey Michael Sinclair attacked another cyclist at Noosaville. Sinclair held rider and father-of-two Rod Wilcox to the ute and then attempted to run him over before speeding off.
Throughout the process it was acknowledged McDonald had no remorse for his actions.
The torrid and "pathetic" legal process left Ms Brady frustrated during a drawn-out and archaic system.
"The legal system needs an overhaul. The duration is painful ... 18 months after Steve's death was when he was sentenced and it was 12 months to the day when he announced his plea of guilty," she said.
"The whole system is run by defence lawyers and built on looking after the criminal. It's not a system that helps victims or for the betterment of our community.
"To charge McDonald with a sentence for a certain amount of years they are comparing cases right back to the 1970s.
"The system doesn't allow for contemplation or regret ... no wonder McDonald had no remorse or true guilt. He knew he had been let off.
"There are no two cases the same.
"People have been comparing the Cameron Frewer incident to Steve's and they are two completely different cases."
Recognising most drivers and cyclists do the right thing, she believes it's the minority fuelling hatred on our roads fed by social media environments where antagonists can find like-minded individuals.
"The hatred is directed toward anyone not like them," Ms Brady said.
"There just needs to be a sense of calm and respect."