Father John Varvaris convicted after hitting elderly parishioner with car in Sydney’s south

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Father John Varvaris has been convicted after being found guilty of accidentally hitting an elderly parishioner with his car at San Souci in Sydney’s south.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Father Varvaris was driving a woman, whom he had known through his church, to her late husband’s grave for prayers on September 24, 2022. 

Upon returning her home to San Souci, the 87-year-old woman disembarked from the vehicle, only for Father Varvaris, who intended on reversing, to accidentally accelerate forward, hitting the woman who stood to the left of the car.

The woman fell face-first into a knee-high brick fence, which resulted in her obtaining life-changing injuries.

Following the incident, Father Varvaris immediately helped the woman and called triple zero, where police and paramedics then attended the scene. She was taken to St George Hospital.

st George hospital
The parishioner was taken to St George Hospital in Sydney following the incident. Photo: St George ICU.

The woman was left with a brain bleed, facial laceration and broken teeth, injuries to her eye and an ankle and foot fracture. Documents revealed that since the incident, she hasn’t been able to walk unassisted.

88-year-old Father John pled guilty to negligent driving causing grievous bodily harm on Tuesday, March 5. He appeared before Sutherland Local Court again on Tuesday, April 2.

Magistrate Philip Stewart accepted that Father John was remorseful, led a life of otherwise unblemished religious devotion and was unlikely to reoffend because he no longer held a licence.

“Father Varvaris obviously intended to put the vehicle into reverse. It is clear that he did not check that the vehicle was in reverse before pressing the accelerator and moving the car forward striking [the woman],” Mr Stewart said.

“In the circumstances, whilst there is no intention whatsoever to cause harm, there is a degree of negligence firstly by failure to check which gear the vehicle was in, and secondly by accelerating without having checked the direction the vehicle would travel in.”

The Magistrate said a conviction was required with no further penalty imposed and he was disqualified from driving for three years.

Source: The Daily Telegraph. 

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