'Terrible' driver denied bail over Christmas Day deaths

Karin and Makayla Tritton did not survive the horror head-on smash on Christmas Day. Courtesy: Brisbane Times

A Queensland driver charged over a head-on crash that killed a mother and daughter on Christmas Day has been refused bail because he can not be trusted to stay off the road. 

Brisbane Supreme Court Justice John Bond on Wednesday said Mark Jason Veneris’ driving record made him an “unacceptable risk” while awaiting trial for the deaths of 18-year-old Makayla Tritton and her mother Karin, 56. 

They died when Mr Veneris hit a tree and crossed onto the wrong side of the road in Manly West, east of Brisbane, on the morning of December 25 last year.

The pair had been on their way to Christmas lunch with Makayla’s 55-year-old father Laurie and 23-year-old sister Tarmeka, who both survived the crash.

Mr Veneris is facing several serious dangerous driving and drugs charges.

Justice Bond noted Mr Veneris had a “terrible traffic history” and had driven while disqualified on at least three prior occasions.

“Why on earth would I let this man out on any possibility that he might go near a car?” Justice Bond said. 

“Obviously adherence to the law doesn’t bother this man. Why wouldn’t I use history as a guide?”

Justice Bond also noted there was evidence Mr Veneris had used drugs just before the crash.

“There was alleged to be a pipe with drugs in it, warm to the touch, with smoke coming out of it,” he said.

“Nobody else was in the car, and he was found to have amphetamines in his system.”

This was not the first time a judge ruled Mr Veneris was too risky to release.

He had been granted bail at a bedside hearing on Boxing Day but that was unexpectedly revoked in January by magistrate Christine Roney, who also noted his unwillingness to stay off the road.