Man accused of crash that killed brothers applies for bail
Police have claimed the driver of a car which crashed into five people and killed two children in Wellington was intentionally driving dangerously and has a history of disregarding road rules.
Jacob Steven Donn was allegedly unlicensed when he got behind the wheel of a Holden Commodore on January 5 and crashed into a mother, her two sons and two other people before fleeing the scene on Warne Street.
Queensland brothers Sheldon, 6 and Shane Shorey 7, died at the scene after reportedly being trapped under Mr Donn's vehicle.
Their mother Shayleen Frail, 34, was flown to Westmead Hospitals with serious injuries.
A nine-year-old child injured in the crash was released from hospital the next day while another remains in The Sydney Children's Hospital at Westmead where he is recovering after a partial leg amputation.
After his arrest on the night of the crash, Mr Donn was charged with 14 offences including dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop at the scene of a crash and negligent driving causing death.
He has entered no pleas and lodged his first formal application for bail in Dubbo Local Court on Monday.
In opposing bail, police prosecutor Michelle Bartlett said Mr Donn had never held a licence and received convictions for driving unlicensed in the past.
"That shows a clear disregard for the rules," she said. "The actions of the accused … were intentional."
Ms Bartlett said witnesses told police Mr Donn was driving around Wellington dangerously in the hours leading up the horrific crash.
"That dangerous driving was intentional in relation to burnouts and skidding the vehicle," she said.
"That driving occurred prior to the collision and that driving is witnessed by members of the community.
"The defendant fled the scene after the collision and I also note he fled from the police attempting to arrest the defendant."
Mr Donn appeared in court via audiovisual link from Bathurst Correctional Centre and he was supported by his great grandmother Dawn and aunty Tracey.
Defence lawyer Ivy Johnson said Mr Donn was diagnosed with schizophrenia during his adolescence and would face up to two years or more in custody on remand if bail was denied and the case went to trial.
"He accepts he was the driver," Ms Johnson said.
"That is a significant demonstration of his responsibility."
Ms Johnson said grief and loss counselling were often unavailable to inmates and Mr Donn's grandmother needed him to care for her.
"Despite the allegation that he fled the scene, he did not flee Wellington … he's a young Indigenous man," Ms Johnson said.
"This is an emotional and stressful time for Mr Donn."
Ms Johnson told the court Mr Donn's great grandmother offered to provide $5000 surety, he would agree to abstain from using alcohol and drugs and remain under house arrest at his great grandmothers if bail was granted.
Magistrate Theresa Hamilton said the police case against Mr Donn appeared to be strong.
"Although he has a very limited history as an adult, it is a matter of concern that he has been dealt with previously for unlicensed driving," she said.
"In view of his failure to respect the fact that he has no licence and is not allowed to drive, there is also a risk he will commit further serious offences and endanger the safety of the community.
"The facts outline dangerous manoeuvres being undertaken by the defendant prior to the impact. It seems to me in all the circumstances there are risks that he would fail to appear if given bail."
The case returns to court in March