Judges uphold prison term for involvement in hit-and-run accident
Australian pro cross country mountain biker Chris Jongewaard will remain in jail after he lost an appeal of a sentence for involvement in a hit-and-run accident in 2007. In September of this year, he had been sentenced to two years of imprisonment following a conviction by the court, which had previously found him guilty of aggravated driving without due care and leaving the scene of an accident.
"It's a significant fact that, for all Mr. Jongewaard knew, he had left someone seriously injured and lying on the roadway, exposed to further damage from motor cars," Chief Justice John Doyle said on Wednesday according to Reuters.
Jongewaard's lawyers appealed on the grounds that the sentence was excessive and that the sentencing judge ought to have suspended the sentence. Three judges reviewed the appeal and upheld the jail term.
According to the Adelaide's The Advertiser, a disappointed Jongewaard shook his head after the decision was read in court while his father Leo stood up and cursed at the judges.
The accident involved Jongewaard's former training partner Matthew Rex following a night of celebrating Rex's 22nd birthday. Jongewaard drove the car that hit Rex, who was on a bicycle. Rex suffered serious, career-ending injuries including a broken back, broken hip, fractured leg, punctured lung, severed arteries and internal bleeding following the accident.
Jongewaard will remain in prison serving his sentence until at least June of 2010, when he is first eligible for parole.
"He's obviously disappointed with the judgment but he now plans on focusing on his rehabiliation and returning to the champion cyclist he was," said his lawyer Anthony Allen according to ABC News.
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