Scenes of distress as tradie cops hefty jail term
FILING into court to hear his fate, a Tugun tradesman found guilty of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm laughed and blew a kiss towards his family and friends.
Little more than an hour later, Brock Roy Taylor appeared shell-shocked when it became clear he would spend eight months behind bars over a devastating crash at Coolangatta on March 8, 2017.
Outside the courtroom, Taylor's partner fell to her knees sobbing and cried out "it was an accident" and "he's not a bad person".
She frantically questioned out loud why the jury of eight women and four men did not believe the award-winning jetskier, who claimed the collision on Marine Parade was caused by a fault in his Toyota Hilux's rear drum brake.
One of three passengers in the Toyota Corolla that Taylor's ute hit head-on, Bond University medical student Thien Phuoc Thai, 28, suffered bowel and intestine tears, and was left for dead with internal bleeding.
Mr Thai has been forced to rest while performing surgery because of ongoing neck pain and flare-ups, Judge Catherine Muir told the court, and she spoke of the student's "emotional rollercoaster".
Taylor, 26, was found guilty in Southport District Court on Thursday and he appeared again on Monday, backed by a crowd of supporters, after three days spent locked up.
The judge pointed out Taylor's trial over four days came at a "great expense for the state".
Despite the crash being scrutinised throughout, it's still not known what caused Taylor's ute to cross into the wrong lane.
The prosecution suggested Taylor tried to U-turn when he noticed the flashing lights of a nearby police RBT, but the defence repeatedly disputed that version of events.
Defence barrister Isaac Munsie argued if any time in prison would be necessary it should be served as a "short, sharp sentence" of several months.
He said any longer could "destroy this young man's life" and spoke of the "corrupting influences in jail".
But Crown prosecutor Gary Churchill argued Taylor could serve half of a two-and-a-half year term, noting a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment and Taylor's "extremely careless, perhaps reckless" driving.
Taylor was described as of otherwise "impeccable character", with no criminal record, but Mr Churchill raised two prior driver's licence suspensions and four speeding offences.
Summing up, Judge Muir determined Taylor had conducted a "deliberate manoeuvre", perhaps to avoid police.
She found Taylor told the jury "a tall and most unlikely tale" and "refused to accept responsibility" for a short-lived but "serious example of dangerous driving", made worse by leaving the scene.
Taylor was sentenced to jail for two years, suspended after eight months. He was also disqualified from driving for two years.