October 23, 2012
A Congolese community leader last week rallied to the defence of a learner driver who was sentenced to six years jail for causing a crash that killed his passenger.
The crash happened on New Years Eve near Perth Airport when Guelor Lutumba tried to overtake a truck on Dunreath Drive and hit another car head on.
Lutumba, 29, was driving the woman and her son to the airport.
In February, he pleaded guilty to eight charges, including one count of dangerous driving causing death, two counts of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and three counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
Last Thursday, District Court Judge Christopher Stevenson heard that Lutumba was raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was forced into being a child soldier and had seen his father being killed.
Members of Lutumba’s family wept as the sentence was read out. An ambulance had to be called after his mother collapsed in court.
Lutumba had escaped Africa with his mother in 2009 in the hope of building a better life in Australia.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Stevens said Lutumba had made a foolish and arrogant decision but showed real remorse.
Outside court, Congolese community of WA leader Cleophas Katumba (pictured) said Lutumba felt very sorry for the victim’s family.
“He wanted to give a service to his friends, and it turned into a tragedy so it’s really very hard,” Mr Katumba said.
Lutumba will be eligible for parole in four years.
Photo: Tom Rabe