Hit and run driver charged.

Thumper 3 July 2007 22

As you are all well aware, Phil Gaetjens Treasurer Peter Costello’s chief of staff was seriously injured last Friday when hit by a car whilst crossing State Circle.

ACT police arrested and charged Nealle Andrew Simpson, 28, of Monash after information from a family member allegedly identified him as the driver of the car.

He has since been released on bail and will reappear in court on 24 July.

Mr Gaetjens remains in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Comments please but let the courts decide the outcome.

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22 Responses to Hit and run driver charged.
Thumper Thumper 9:29 am 05 Jul 07


totally agree with you on that score Sash…

How Stanhope managed to weasel out of that one has me still stunned.

Go back through the RA archives and you’ll find plenty of heated discussion about that very subject.

Sasha Sasha 10:31 pm 04 Jul 07

Stupid tactic. Sign of guilt. And clearly, ineffective – particularly if your family dobs you in but also because cars rust but don’t disintegrate completely. Clearly the same dints that identified the car would remain after a short time submerged in water. The felon should have watched more CSI or Forensic Investigators for clues on how to deal with this one!

Hasdrubahl Hasdrubahl 10:18 pm 04 Jul 07

Strange that the vehicle had to be pulled from a river somewhere.

Sasha Sasha 6:20 pm 04 Jul 07

Thumper, I wish I could share your confidence in the system. I just feel a little jaded with justice in the ACT after no one took responsibility for how the ACT bushfires were handled – and got away with it.

Thumper Thumper 4:03 pm 04 Jul 07

Who knows….

It’ll all come out in the wash.

Sasha Sasha 3:59 pm 04 Jul 07

Thumper, I don’t understand how someone can hit a person with their car and drive off leaving them to die but then there are many things I don’t understand. I guess the only positive here is that this didn’t happen in the outback (unless you consider Adelaide Avenue the outback) – so even though the driver drove off, there were other people to render assistance. We also don’t know that he didn’t report the accident anonymously. Still pisses me off that he drove off but maybe he was in shock?

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 8:55 am 04 Jul 07

The other thing that occurred to me is why didn’t he stop?

Perhaps he panicked? Nice to think we’d all be a paragon of rational thought in a situation like this.

And no, I’m not saying he definitely panicked. I’m just saying that given that none of us have any relevant facts, panic is just as likely a scenario as, say, flicking a cigarette butt at the downed man then driving down Adelaide Ave laughing maniacally.

Thumper Thumper 8:12 am 04 Jul 07

Becaue Sash,

he ran over someone and nearly killed them, then failed to render assistance, in fact, pissed off.

If he’s stopped and helped then none of this would have happened, well, technically wouldn’t happened given we don’t know the full story.

I’m just at a loss how someone can leave another person dying on the road and know that it was them that caused it.

I must add that whether or not the driver was liable for the accident is something that we don’t know at this stage.

Sasha Sasha 11:43 pm 03 Jul 07

For me, the felon being caught is bitter-sweet. Would have been preferable that the guy turned himself in. Now we have a situation where a guy who on all accounts is not too bright (ie he drowned his car to escape detection) but probably was not criminally motivated was turned in by his family. Now he’ll go to prison and probably will be estranged from his family (ie have nowhere to turn) and, as a result, surrounded by murderers and rapists will become a hardened criminal. Why not make him serve his time in a hospital rehabilitation centre for other hit and run victims instead?

ant ant 11:32 pm 03 Jul 07

I’m glad they got him. I’m glad his family turned him in. Doesn’t help Gaetjo and his family, but at least we can all hope there’s some justice.

Australians have changed. Does this hit and run thing marry with our views of ourselves? Yet I suspect that increasingly, it’s an accurate portrayal of us as people who want to avoid being responsible, to push the job of ‘doing something” onto others (like the army, the police, the SES…) while we go home and watch our plasmas and rifle through our mortgage papers.

Sasha Sasha 11:23 pm 03 Jul 07

cont …
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (11.03): The opposition supports the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2) which makes provision for road rules and other matters relating to safety and traffic management on roads and road-related areas. Section 16 of the act makes it an offence if a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident in which someone dies or is injured fails to stop and give any assistance that is necessary and in his or her power to give. This bill will amend section 16 by increasing the penalty for the offence from a maximum of 50 penalty units and/or imprisonment for six months to a maximum of 200 penalty units and/or two years imprisonment—a quadrupling of existing penalties.

Sasha Sasha 11:20 pm 03 Jul 07

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 429..

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.13): I also support the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2) which will amend the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 by increasing the penalty for the offence committed where a driver of a vehicle which is involved in an accident causing death or injury fails to stop and render assistance. The purpose of having this offence on the statute book is to reinforce the need for motorists to remain at the scene of an accident which has resulted in someone being killed or hurt, be it another driver or a pedestrian.

We all feel saddened whenever we hear on the news of a serious car accident which has resulted in someone’s death or serious injury. However, when we hear that the driver of a vehicle involved in such an accident has failed to stop the reaction of most of us is anger and disbelief that anyone, realising that he or she may have injured someone in an accident, would simply drive off without even stopping to see whether he or she can help. As members may be aware, I have been involved in the transport industry for many years as a delegate and organiser in the Transport Workers Union. I have taken many late night calls from long distance drivers struggling to stay alert on their long journeys.

I have also seen the carnage associated with vehicle accidents resulting in death. I have also been involved in lobbying legislators on driving times for long distance drivers and local heavy vehicle provisions in the ACT. I am sure all members are aware of how our ambulance officers, police and those people who are first on the scene of such accidents would like us to legislate on this occasion. There is no question that a person who is driving a vehicle which is involved in an accident resulting in death or injury has a moral as well as a legal obligation to stop and, where that person is able, to give assistance to any injured person, even if all that involves is ringing 000 for an ambulance and providing some comfort and reassurance to the injured persons that professional help is on its way.

Failure of a person involved in an accident to stop and assist in this way should be treated as a very serious offence and a suitable penalty must be available to the court to deal with those guilty of this behaviour. In other parts of Australia the penalties for this type of offence have been examined and this has shown that the ACT penalty is currently considerably lower than the penalties elsewhere. In the ACT the maximum penalty is a fine of 50 penalty units or six months in prison, or both, and this same level of penalty applies to many regulatory breaches in various ACT laws. It is not an adequate penalty for an offence as serious as a hit and run.


sepi sepi 5:58 pm 03 Jul 07

Is two years right?

Surely there will be two charges, one for the accident, and one for failing to stop?

I hope so anyway.

Thumper Thumper 4:14 pm 03 Jul 07

Comment, yes, but make assumptions, no.

thanks 😉

Sasha Sasha 3:46 pm 03 Jul 07

Hard not to personalise this. Phil Gaetjens is a lovely fellow and a voice of reason at the Treasurer’s helm. In view of this, my first response when I heard about it was that they should put the perpetrator of this crime in a cell with Ivan Milat. But this is unlikely. Apparently the most this guy can get in the ACT for a crime like this is two years in prison. Does this sound like a fair punishment? For xxxx’s sake, Phil’s in a coma, to say nothing of his other injuries.
The other thing that occurred to me is why didn’t he stop? The only thing that occurred to me is that the man was drunk and wanted to avoid a dd charge in addition to his other crimes.
Maybe I need to take a bex and have a lie down?

Mr Evil Mr Evil 1:35 pm 03 Jul 07

You know it’s society’s fault he didn’t hand himself in. Or maybe global warming is to blame? 🙂

Gutless bastard; but good on the family member for informing the Police.

FC FC 1:08 pm 03 Jul 07

I’m sure his sentence will be harsher thatn Westin’s.
Oh – that is unless he is a drug addict.

S4anta S4anta 12:55 pm 03 Jul 07


PG isn’t a pollie, just works for one, and he is rather handy at his job too, may i add.

Danman Danman 12:21 pm 03 Jul 07

Yep.. 1st thing I thought was Amber Jane Westin case.

This Simpson galah will be downing a coldie in celebration in a few weeks methinks….

SamTSeppo SamTSeppo 11:56 am 03 Jul 07

I wonder if a hit-and-run that injures a politician is going to net a harsher sentence than evading police, hitting and killing an 82-year old woman.

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