The scene of the crash in which Jayden Watt was killed on Noosa-Cooroy Rd in 2007.
The scene of the crash in which Jayden Watt was killed on Noosa-Cooroy Rd in 2007. John McCutcheon/JM166730

Family finally gets justice for horror crash that killed son

BREAKING: A family's nine-year wait for closure came to an end this morning when they watched a man be sentenced for the crash that killed their 23-year-old son.

They were pleased the man in the dock, Matthew William Porter, did not get sent to jail.

Porter, 33, was 24-years-old when his momentary distraction caused a crash which took the life of Jayden Watt on the Cooroy Noosa Rd at Tinbeerwah on June 16, 2007.

Porter was not initially charged for the crash despite admitting at the scene he had been distracted by a ringing mobile phone, which had been sitting in a cradle.

Using a mobile phone in a cradle was not against the law at the time, but when he looked up it was too late to brake in time for traffic queued behind a vehicle turning right.

 

Jayden Watt.
Jayden Watt. Contributed

He crashed into the back of a car, which then travelled onto the wrong side of the road and into the path of the oncoming car in which Mr Watt was a front-seat passenger.

The charge of dangerous driving causing death was laid after police, prompted by Mr Watt's mother, Julie Watt, and aunt Annette Agius, began a new investigation into the matter in 2014.

Crown Prosecutor Greg Cummings told Maroochydore District Court on Tuesday that Porter, a glazier at the time, had been driving a ute laden with glass on the 100kmh stretch of road.

Mr Cummings said Mr Watt came from a large family of three bothers and one sister.

One of his brothers, Beau, was travelling in a car behind the car carrying Mr Watt and saw the crash.

 

Julie Watt, her husband Mark Watt and their daughter Tahnee Haynes speak outside Maroochydore Court after a man was sentenced for causing a crash that killed their son and brother, Jayden Watt.
Julie Watt, her husband Mark Watt and their daughter Tahnee Haynes speak outside Maroochydore Court after a man was sentenced for causing a crash that killed their son and brother, Jayden Watt. Stuart Cumming

Mr Cummings noted Porter had no criminal history and had only one very minor traffic infringement since the 2007 crash.

Defence barrister Simon Lewis told the court his client had been starting out in his career at the time of the crash and had since gone on to become a valued and contributing member of the community.

Porter was married in 2007 and he and his wife have since had two children.

Mr Lewis said the first his client knew that he might be charged for the crash was when he learned of the investigation in 2014.

"My client feels deep remorse for what occurred," Mr Lewis said.

"It took my client some time to understand the criminal nature of what he had done as opposed to his moral culpability, which is something he has never walked away from."

 

Jayden Watt was a front-seat passanger in this car.
Jayden Watt was a front-seat passanger in this car. John McCutcheon/JM166730n

Mr Lewis said his client had carried the burden of what he had done because he was a "good and decent man".

He said Porter's driving record from the past nine years showed he was not a threat to other road users.

Judge Gary Long noted Porter's guilty plea and that Porter had lived with the consequences of his actions.

Judge Long also noted the significant grief Mr Watt's family had endured.

"You have proven yourself and developed as a positive contributor to your community," Judge Long said.

He said the case fell into a rare category which allowed him to keep Porter from serving actual jail time as a part of his sentence.

 

Matthew William Porter, 33, leaves Maroochydore Court House after being sentenced for dangerous driving causing death.
Matthew William Porter, 33, leaves Maroochydore Court House after being sentenced for dangerous driving causing death. Stuart Cumming

Porter was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended immediately.

He was also disqualified from driving for nine months.

Porter used a tissue to wipe his eye as the court was adjourned.

He did not comment to media when he left the court.

Mrs Watt and her husband Mark said they were relieved.

"We are really happy with the result," Mrs Watt said.

"We had to wait nine years but we got it."

She said her family would now press for an investigation into why it took nine years to get to this point.

"It should have been done from the start."


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