Carla La Tella


"Profoundly remorseful": Judge shows mercy to father who killed toddler

"Profoundly remorseful": Judge shows mercy to father who killed toddler

A Victorian father who was responsible for the death of his two-year-old son in a quad bike crash has wept after learning he is more than likely to avoid jail time.

Christopher Brown was behind the wheel when he lost control of the buggy doing doughnuts, a dangerous manoeuvre on the quad bike. His son died on his lap as the buggy overturned, flinging the toddler from the vehicle.

The incident happened at the family home in Barnawartha North, near the New South Wales border.

Lincoln was sitting on his father's knee and was only being held in place, as no one involved was wearing a helmet. Browne escaped the crash with minor injuries, as did his sister, who was in the passenger seat.

He appeared in the County Court of Victoria on Thursday and pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and conduct endangering persons.

Judge Michael Cahill said he accepted that Browne was "profoundly remorseful".

"I have formed the view in all the circumstances in this case that a community correction order is the appropriate sentence for Mr Browne," the judge said.

"Living with the loss of his child is punishment more than any court could impose." Browne, who appeared by videolink, from Wodonga, wiped away tears as the judge spoke.

The accident happened on Christmas Day in 2020, after Browne opened presents and ate brunch with family members at his home. Just before lunchtime, Browne took his Polaris buggy out to give his guests rides.

He got into the driver's seat and sat on top of the seatbelt, which was already clipped in, while his sister got into the passenger side and put on her restraints.

The court documents reveal that Browne placed Lincoln, who wanted to go for a ride, on his left knee and held him in place.

He then drove out into a paddock and performed several doughnuts before driving back up the driveway, where he reached speeds of up to 70 kilometres per hour. He turned the buggy around and drove back into the paddock to perform another doughnut when he lost control of the vehicle and it flipped, flinging the toddler.

The two-year-old died at the scene.

"Mr Brown has been overwhelmed by his post-traumatic stress," Judge Cahill said.

Prosecutor Erin Ramsay initially pushed for jail time but ultimately accepted that a community-based order was an appropriate sentence.

Image: Facebook

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