A YOUNG father who fled war torn South Sudan and had begun rebuilding his life in Darwin has been jailed for killing two of his closest friends in a drunken car crash last year.
Aguto Majok Mach, 29, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court on Tuesday to two counts of dangerous driving causing death, after crashing into the side of a road train on Cox Peninsula Rd at Berry Springs in October 2016.
His two mates, Anyuat Deng and John Athtu, both of whom were passengers and both of whom had also been drinking, died of traumatic head injuries.
Mach, who was unlicensed and who broke his arm in the crash, had a blood alcohol reading of 0.142 when tested between one and three hours later in hospital.
Chief Justice Michael Grant said “common experience” suggested Mach’s blood alcohol reading would have been higher at the time of the crash.
Crown Prosecutor Matt Nathan SC said the Mazda Metro was unregistered, uninsured and had bald tyres at the time of the crash
Christy McConnel, for Mach, said the accident happened after an evening of drinking, when one of the victims went to light up a cigarette in the car and Mach turned around, losing concentration on the road.
“He is sorry for what has happened, he instructs me that he has been in contact with the families of the victims,” Ms McConnel said.
The court heard Mach came to Australia in 2006, and moved to Darwin in 2015 where he found skilled work at the Livingstone abattoir.
Chief Justice Grant said Mach had to do a “big whack” of jail time for his crimes.
“The taking of a human life is to be regarded as a crime of significant seriousness,” he said.
“You’ve taken the lives of two young men and devastated the lives of their families.”
He said Mach’s level of drunkenness was the main cause of the crash, but that his offending was not as bad as those who killed people during police chases.
The court heard the death of Mr Deng meant members of his extended family would lose the opportunity to migrate to Australia under the family reunion scheme.
Chief Justice Grant sentenced Mach to three years and six months jail, suspended after 18 months served.