Stoned man nearly killed best mate in crash

AN L PLATER who crashed an unroadworthy motorbike while high on cannabis, nearly killing his best mate, has been jailed.

Benjamin Graham Hall, 20, pleaded guilty this week in Ipswich District Court to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm while adversely affected.

The court heard the crash occurred on November 2, 2014, shortly after midnight on an unlit section of Old Fernvale Rd at Lowood.

Crown prosecutor Clare Kelly said Hall was at a party and was asked to drive a mate to a nearby service station to get a pack of smokes.

She said Hall and his mate, Boediene Cooper, hopped on a motorbike and took off towards the service station and were on their way back to the party when the crash occurred.

"Hall failed to negotiate a bend in the road and subsequently crashed the motorbike," she said.

"Mr Cooper was thrown about 25m into a cement culvert.

"His injuries were multiple and included compound fractures to both legs and ankles and a laceration to his head.

"He underwent several surgeries and pins had to be inserted into his legs."

Ms Kelly said inspection of the motorbike, following the crash, revealed it did not have headlights, indicators or any working brakes.

She said an analysis of Hall's blood two hours after the crash revealed a high level of cannabis in his system which indicated very recent use.

Defence barrister Geoff Seaholme said Hall was extremely remorseful for his actions but Mr Cooper must also shoulder some of the blame.

He said Hall had been smoking cannabis socially since he was about 15-years-old and had only two drinks over several hours at the party.

"He initially did not want to go to the service station, but after some discussion, he and his mate jumped on the bike," he said.

"This was a very foolish decision on his behalf."

Judge Greg Koppenol sentenced Hall to three years behind bars but ordered he be released after serving nine months.

He said drugs had become a scourge on society and one which was only getting worse.

"It is a deplorable reflection on our society that young people resort to drugs," he said.

"It is a tragedy for our country."

Judge Koppenol also ordered Hall remain on parole for a period of four years after his release and disqualified him from holding a licence for two years.

* A photograph that appeared on this story for a short time early this morning was published in error. It purported to be a picture of Benjamin Graham Hall, but it was of another man. We unreservedly apologise to the wrong person who was featured in the picture.

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