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More jail time for drunk and deadly driver


A drunk and speeding driver who killed two passengers and injured another in Port Stephens has been jailed for longer after an appeal against his “manifestly inadequate” sentence. 

Adam Anthony Bortic attended the Salamander Bay Tavern in Port Stephens with other work colleagues before drunk driving after already consuming an unknown amount of alcohol on April 12, 2018. 

The then-31-year-old drank up to three more beverages before driving three others while Matthew Wiperi and Gordon McRandle were travelling in a separate car. 

The pair soon observed him “driving fast”, according to the facts tendered to court.

When Bortic missed a turn-off to their destination Mr Wiperi caught up to him to try to get his attention, but he accelerated away.

“He just went VOOM (verbal sound) and started, like, going real fast from that point there,” Mr Wiperi told police in a statement. 

“Gordy’s like, “This is bad.” And I’m like, “F, it’s bad,” flashing me lights and, like beeping me horn … and then we seen him, like, slide and, and hit the gutter.” Mr McRandle said of the crash “they missed their turn … and they’ve just fen pinned it … and then … on that corner there … straight up the gutter, ate the tree”.

One trapped passenger died in the car, while another died as she was transported to the hospital.

Forensic analysis later found Bortic had been travelling more than 45km/h over the 50km/h speed limit, with a blood-alcohol reading more than three times above the legal limit.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death, and one count of causing bodily harm by misconduct in charge of a motor vehicle.

The judge in sentencing him found he may have been “showing off,” when he accelerated away from his friends, had shown genuine remorse and that he was unlikely to re-offend.

Despite the Crown submitting his foreshadowed sentencing was appealable, a non-parole period of two years and nine months was handed down, with a head sentence of six years.

In appealing the Crown submitted the sentence was “manifestly,” and “plainly unjust” and would likely undermine public confidence in the proper administration of criminal justice.

The facts indicated he was travelling “at a grossly irresponsible speed, well over the posted speed limit, while significantly affected by the consumption of alcohol,” the Crown argued, and that his moral culpability was high given he was driving three passengers.

Defence counsel argued the judicial discretion in weighing all the relevant factors was appropriate and rational according to sentencing.

But the appeal was upheld with significance placed on Bortic’s “abandonment of moral responsibility”.

His new head sentence is for a total of eight years while a non-parole period of four years and nine months will now expire on July 6, 2025.


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