Killer drink driver who was 100km/h over speed limit learns fate

First appeared in The Courier, February 12 2018

The Kuranjang man who was four times (0.20 per cent) over the legal alcohol limit when his car spun out of control and hit a tree, killing 22-year-old Hayden Kloppers, has been sentenced to eight years in jail, with a minimum of five years.

Mr Kloppers died instantly when Paul Smith, 26, ploughed his white Holden utility into a large tree located at the Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour on March 25, 2017.

It is believed Smith was travelling at a minimum 168km/h on the stretch of road, which has a speed limit of 60kph.

In sentencing, County Court Judge Gregory Lyon said he had taken a number of things into consideration, including sentencing advisory snap shots, received from Smith’s lawyer Marcus Dempsey, dating from 2006 to present.

He said he had also taken into account Smith’s early guilty plea, relative youth, good character, prospects of rehabilitation and his “exhibition of considerable remorse”.

Judge Lyon said if not for Smith’s early guilty plea, he would have been sentenced to ten years with a minimum parole period of eight-years.

Smith was charged with one count of culpable driving. The maximum sentence is 20-years.

Judge Lyon addressed the family of Mr Kloppers, stating that the sentence imposed on the accused was in no way a measure of the life lost.

Smith’s license was disqualified for a period of two years from January 30, 2022.

He has already served 13 days in pre-sentence detention.