Ice-affected driver Jo Lim jailed for killing Lisa Di Donato in Rowville crash
Lisa Di Donato was a decent, hard-working woman loved and admired by all, the judge said. (Facebook)
A driver who smoked ice for breakfast before smashing a ute into another car, killing its 27-year-old occupant, will spend at least five years in prison before he is likely to be deported to Malaysia.
- Jo Lim was sentenced to a maximum of eight years for killing Lisa Di Donato
- He was affected by ice and banned from driving when he crashed into her car
- The victim’s mother said she was disappointed with the sentence, but Lim’s likely deportation was a “saving grace”
Jo Lim was on bail and disqualified from driving when he crashed a borrowed ute at an intersection in Melbourne’s south-east on February 15, killing young pharmacist Lisa Di Donato.
Lim had smoked methamphetamine that morning and was travelling more than 80 kilometres an hour when he crashed into Ms Di Donato’s driver side door, as she waited at a red light near a shopping centre in Rowville.
Lim left scene of the collision but returned a short time later and was arrested.
“The life of a decent, hard-working woman with a loving partner and family, who was admired and loved by all, has been lost,” County Court Judge Paul Lacava said.
“The deceased’s partner has had his life virtually turned upside down by your actions in causing this collision. Each of the victims have suffered a profound sense of needless loss at your hands.”
Lim was sentenced to a maximum of eight years in prison for multiple offences, including culpable driving causing death, with a non-parole period of five years.
Judge Lacava noted that Lim, a Malaysian national, could be deported upon his release and this would make his time in prison “more burdensome”.
Lim has been banned from driving for life.
‘The legal system is not on our side’
Outside court, Ms Di Donato’s mother Elena criticised the sentence as too short but took some comfort in the fact Lim may be deported.
“I’m so disappointed that my daughter’s life is worth only five years,” she said.
“Having listened to the judge last time I really thought that [the judge] would impose a harsher sentence considering this man has been in and out of the legal system for 10 years.
“The only saving grace is that he’s going to be deported.”
“The legal system is not on our side,” Elena Di Donato, the mother of the victim, said. (AAP: Ellen Smith)
Ms Di Donato said the justice system was too heavily weighted to support the criminals.
“The legal system is not on our side, it’s on their side,” she said.
“I’ve lost my daughter and our family has lost someone and I have to live with that.
“The sad thing is that tomorrow we’ll be forgotten, and some other poor family will go through exactly what we’re going through.”
Driver had history of law-breaking
The court heart Lim suffered a brain injury after being involved in a crash in 2011, but Judge Lacava said his cognitive deficits would not have affected his ability to drive a vehicle.
He had a long history of drug abuse and driving offences, racking up 22 infringement notices for speeding between 2003 and 2016.
On one day in 2013, Lim clocked up seven traffic infringement notices, four of which were for exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 kilometres an hour.
“Clearly your driving record is appalling, and you should not have been driving on the day that you offended,” Judge Lacava said.
“Your prospects for not reoffending are bleak.”
Judge Lacava said Lim would have been sentenced to 10 years’ prison, with a non-parole period of seven years, had he not entered a guilty plea.
He is already serving a five-month sentence for another driving offence.