Inmate jailed for assaulting man charged with fatal Mudgee accident

Robin Irvine.
Robin Irvine.

The inmate charged with the bashing of the man jailed for a fatal Mudgee bicycle accident was sentenced in the Sydney Downing Centre District Court last Friday.

Richard Tohifolau was sentenced to nine years imprisonment by judge Warwick Hunt for the offence which left Robin Irvine with brain injuries.

In July 2015 Irvine was jailed for the charges of negligent driving occasioning death and exceeding the speed limit by more than 20km/h.

He lodged an appeal against the severity of the sentence which was to be heard in Dubbo District Court a fortnight later in mid-August.

He was refused bail in the lead up to that date.

Nine days into his time at the Wellington Correctional Centre Irvine was attacked by Tohifolau in his cell.

He was left unconscious for more than an hour and a half before he was found by a patrolling guard.

Irvine was taken to Orange hospital then onto Westmead Hospital and treated for bleeding to the brain and blood loss.

He was in a coma for six months, and following rehabilitation requires 24-hour care, is unable to walk and has difficulty speaking.

No motive for the attack was given to the court when Tohifolau was sentenced.

Irvine was jailed for the accident that claimed the life of prominent Mudgee businesswoman, Jill Bryant, on the morning of Mother’s Day the year prior. At about 7.45am on Sunday, May 10, 2014, Mrs Bryant was cycling along the Ulan Road when Irvine’s vehicle hit her from behind.

The fatal accident – which occurred in the 50km/h zone near the Lue Road intersection - was put down to fatigue with Irvine returning from his third consecutive 12-and-a-half-hour shift at a mine in Ulan.

His solicitor, John Anthony, told Mudgee Local Court on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, that Irvine wanted to express his remorse to Mrs Bryant’s family and that he accepted full responsibility for the accident.

Presiding that day was visiting magistrate Darryl Pearce, who said the matter warranted imprisonment due to the loss of life.

“It’s no small note that the defendant has caused the death of another human being,” he said on the day.

“This is sending a message to the defendant and the community at large that this is unacceptable and jail is the only appropriate option.”

Following the bashing Irvine received victims compensation of $5,000.

His family is taking legal action against Corrective Services NSW to fund his ongoing care.