Googling killer’s penalty appealed for tougher penalty

A YOUNG Sunshine Coast P-plate driver who walked free from court after killing a fruit picker and seriously injuring his companion while distracted on her iPhone could face a tougher penalty on appeal.

Meghan Catherine Elizabeth Hopper was so focused on Google maps that her car veered off the road near Caboolture on the night of July 7 last year.

She did not realise she had hit anything.

The two people she struck were from Taiwan.

Yesterday, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie instructed the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to appeal the sentence handed this week to the Maleny 19-year-old in the Brisbane District Court. She was given 30 months in jail, but the sentence was wholly suspended.

Hopper was caught using her mobile phone again while driving five months after she hit and killed Chen-Chuan Yang and caused grievous bodily harm to Kwan-Jung Wu.

Sunshine Coast police revealed this week that they were booking, on average, six drivers a day using their phones while behind the wheel.

They said they had booked more than 2000 drivers, who each faced a $330 fine.

Meanwhile, Mr Bleijie has also asked the ODPP, on behalf of police, to appeal the sentence handed to Lorne James Campbell.

The 33-year-old was sentenced to six months in jail by a magistrate in a Maroochydore court last week for possessing tainted property while on a suspended sentence for a similar offence.

However, Campbell, who attracted media interest because of his alleged association with bikies, was granted immediate parole.

Mr Bleijie said Campbell was allegedly a Rebels bikie.

The Minister said he believed the sentences of Hopper and Campbell had to be appealed.

He said they were manifestly inadequate, were not in line with community expectations and did not set an adequate deterrent.


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