THE mother of a child struck by a jet ski during an accident on Australia Day this year has described the terrifying moment she saw her son floating face down in the water.
Paul Bradley Sheppard, 29, of Cobden-Warrnambool Road, Allansford, was yesterday given a six-month suspended sentence for injuring a 12-year-old in a jet ski accident.
Magistrate Andrew Capell told Sheppard he needed to “grow up” and described his actions of riding the jet ski after drinking as “an absurd immaturity”. The court heard Sheppard attempted to perform a U-turn on a narrow stretch of the Curdies River as he was passing an oncoming boat.
He struck a floatable device the victim was riding, causing the youth to be flung unconscious into the water.
In her victim impact statement to the court, the boy’s mother described watching the incident in horror.
She said the family had recently lost another son to a rare brain virus and faced several traumatic moments of seeing her other son floating unconscious in the river.
“I do believe you are stupid and lucky for not permanently damaging my son,” the mother said, addressing Sheppard in her statement.
“I think you should be punished by the law. I don’t think jail will fix what was an accident.
“Alcohol and boats do not mix and there’s a bloody good reason why you get a licence for water rules.”
Sheppard pleaded guilty to charges over using the jet ski and causing injury.
Mr Capell said Sheppard’s actions were inexcusable.
“They (the parents) were faced with the thought for a very few minutes that their other child had died,” Mr Capell said.
“You would have known the narrowing of the river there but your brain was impaired by alcohol.
“There’s no excuse for being on the jet ski and there’s no excuse for drinking alcohol before getting on the jet ski.”
Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Kevin Mullins told the court earlier this week Sheppard had a blood alcohol reading of 0.07 after being tested at the Port Campbell Police Station following the accident.
Sheppard was given a six-month suspended sentence and issued with a $1750 fine.