Fatal crash driver can get licence again, judge rules
A MAN who was jailed in 2011 for dangerous driving causing the death of his friend at Moore Park Beach is now able to get a licence again.
When Benjamin Lloyd Hopper was sentenced in Bundaberg District Court in 2011 to eight years in jail, an order was made that disqualified him absolutely from holding or obtaining a driver's licence.
Earlier this year, Hopper, who now lives in Caloundra, applied to the court to get this order overturned - and he has been successful.
In a court judgment published online this week, Judge Gary Long said it was in the community's interest that Hopper be facilitated in rehabilitation and reintegration.
Hopper and three friends were drinking at Moore Park Beach Bowls Club when he decided to drive them home.
He reached speeds of 130kmh, swerved over the roadway and then lost control of the car, smashing into a parked car, hitting a power pole and careening into a wooden fence.
One of his friends in the back seat, Craig Deakin, 18, died instantly.
Hopper, who was 20 at the time and is now 26, spent three years in jail before he was released on parole.
Judge Long's judgment said Hopper was compliant on parole and had been of good behaviour for five to six years.
Hopper now lives in Caloundra and provides for his mother. His job requires him to work at various sites around Queensland.
He applied to the court to remove the disqualification order to allow him to work at job sites and transport his mother.
It was also noted in the court judgment that public transport was unavailable.
Judge Long said Hopper had now spent two years in the community and that he was now a more mature person who had demonstrated some insight into his past offending behaviours.
Judge Long ordered that the absolute disqualification order be removed.
Hopper will remain on parole until 2019.