The son of a NSW policeman will escape charges over the
deaths of two teenagers because he ran them over in a
paddock, not a road.
Deputy State Coroner Sharon Freund said today she realised
the loophole would compound the trauma for the families of
Eliza Wannan and William Dalton-Brown.
The 19-year-olds were sharing a swag at a party on a farm
near Molong, in central west NSW, in January 2010, when they
were run over and killed by 17-year-old L-plater Rhys
Ms Freund found that under the NSW Road Transport Act, the
offence had to occur on a road or road-related property in
order for Mr Colefax to be charged with reckless driving.
She noted that in Queensland and Victoria, a driver could be
charged with drink-driving regardless of whether the offence
was on a road or private property.
"I have no doubt that the fact Rhys Colefax is unlikely to be
charged ... adds to the torment of both the families of Eliza
and William," the coroner said.
Ms Freund said making recommendations on the anomalies in the
legislation was outside her jurisdiction.
In an emotion-charged statement on the inquest's final day,
Mr Dalton-Brown's father William Brown said he believed "Rhys
Colefax is the luckiest boy in the world".
The coroner disagreed.
"Rhys will have to carry with him for the rest of his days
the knowledge that his actions ... took the lives of two
beautiful souls," she said.
The inquest had heard Mr Colefax had been drinking at the
party on the night before the incident, but afterwards he was
breathalysed with equipment that was later reported faulty.
His breath test registered zero.
The victims' families had concerns because the investigating
officer knew Mr Colefax's father Brett Colefax, a policeman
who had served in the area.
Rhys Colefax has also escaped charges despite evidence he had
driven to the party unsupervised.
The coroner found the police investigation was thorough and
The inquest had heard that Ms Wannan was a vivacious young
woman with a love of all things French and fashionable.
Mr Dalton-Brown's family had told the inquest he had planned
to enrol in a science degree in the days following the party.
A spokeswoman for NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said he was
seeking legal advice on the matter.