The driver who killed 31 year-old Australian cyclist Saul Pasque last January has escaped serious punishment, receiving just a $1000 fine and a two month loss of his driver's licence. Pasque, from Camperdown in the southern Australian state of Victoria, was killed while riding along Barrabool Road by 57 year-old Eric Lewis Walter. The accident happened late in the afternoon, and Walter claimed not to have seen Pasque until the last moment. After he hit the cyclist, he tried to help him, but Pasque died from severe head injuries after being taken to Geelong Hospital.
Magistrate Ian von Einem handed down his sentence in the middle of last week, admitting that the charge of careless driving will still be considered "too lenient" by Pasque's relatives. "That charge [of careless driving] carries a maximum $1200 fine and any loss of licence is at the magistrate's discretion," von Einem was quoted by the Geelong Advertiser as saying. "The cyclist was doing nothing wrong, he was riding 34 centimetres from the edge of the bitumen when he was struck by the defendant's car. There was no excessive speed, no alcohol involved and the defendant has no prior convictions...But this is a situation where a careless act has caused a life to be extinguished."