Matthew Alexander leaves Darwin Magistrates Court in 2015
Matthew Alexander leaves Darwin Magistrates Court in 2015

Police bungle sees hit-run driver get off lightly, again

COWARD hit-and-run driver Matthew Robert Alexander, who in 2014 left the scene of the fatal crash which killed much-loved Palmerston boy Jack Sultan-Page, was busted drink driving and speeding a stone's throw from his previous crime.

But in a blunder, Alexander's criminal record was not presented in Darwin Local Court on Wednesday, leaving Judge Elizabeth Morris to sentence the former ice addict as a first-time offender.

Alexander, 27, of Rosebery, was clocked at 92km/h in a 60km/h zone in Palmerston in August and blew 0.120 when police pulled over his Holden Commodore sedan.

Alexander's lawyer, Matt Hubber, said his client had spent the night at the speedway races with mates before making "a foolish decision to drive about 3km" home.

 

Matthew Alexander leaves Darwin Magistrates Court in 2015
Matthew Alexander leaves Darwin Magistrates Court in 2015

Judge Elizabeth Morris, who was not presented with Alexander's criminal record, handed him a $400 fine and disqualified him for the mandatory minimum of six months.

Alexander's criminal record includes an 18-month jail sentence, suspended after six months on home detention, for failing to render assistance to eight-year-old Jack, whose mother, Faye Sultan described him as a "beautiful soul".

The Supreme Court in 2015 heard Alexander had regularly smoked ice for four years until a successful stint in the notoriously-strict Banyan House rehab centre while on bail.

In handing Alexander the widely-criticised home detention sentence in 2015, Justice Stephen Southwood said the then-23-year-old hit-and-run perpetrator had been "extremely cowardly", had "behaved horrendously" but had "learnt the error of his ways" and "feels disgusted by himself".

Ms Morris on Wednesday disqualified Alexander from the road for six months and fined him $400, plus $300 in victim impact levies.

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Matt Nathan SC said the file which police provided had no mention of Alexander's previous criminal record and "in fact contained positive statements" he had a clean history.

"This information was then conveyed to the court by our prosecutor," Mr Nathan said.

More than 100 cases were listed in Darwin Local Court on Wednesday alone, and Mr Nathan said prosecutors were reliant on police providing "accurate and up to date" information.

Mr Nathan did not respond to direct questions about whether the DPP would have expected Ms Morris to hand Alexander a heftier sentence had she known about his criminal record.

NT Police did not respond to questions by deadline.