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Vic teen jailed over Ratten fatal crash

AAP logoAAP 11/08/2016 By Caitlin Guilfoyle

A Victorian teenager will spend at least three years behind bars for a drunken, high-speed joyride that killed Cooper Ratten, son of Hawthorn assistant coach Brett Ratten.

The 18-year-old - who was a 17-year-old learner driver at the time of the Yarra Glen smash - also had ecstasy in his system and had failed to turn on the headlights of the car he was driving when he lost control in August 2015.

Cooper, 16, wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was catapulted about 65 metres from the wreck as the vehicle rolled end-over-end.

"The result is that a decent, talented and much-loved young man, with his adult life just ahead of him, has needlessly been killed," a judge said on Friday when jailing the teenage motorist.

"Family and friends have been broken-hearted and lives will never be quite the same again."

Cooper's father, Brett Ratten, is the assistant coach at AFL club Hawthorn and was previously senior coach and captain at Carlton.

He wasn't in court as the teenage driver was sentenced to five years' jail with a minimum term of three years before he'll be eligible for parole.

The young driver had drunk at a friend's place on the night of the crash before going to a Yarra Glen football club function where he had hidden near an old scoring box and continued drinking in secret.

He had gone back to his friend's home and got behind the wheel of a mate's sister's car about 3am on August 16 - after twice being warned not to.

The teen, who had a 17-year-old passenger in the front as well as Cooper in the back, had struggled to reverse down the driveway and then sped up, despite foggy conditions.

Experts believe his blood-alcohol reading at the time of the crash was about 0.084.

The court heard the teenager, who broke his neck in the smash, was remorseful. He was also considered popular and well respected with a good work ethic.

He had pleaded guilty to one count of culpable driving causing death.

The judge could have sentenced him as a child, but said he wouldn't because the maximum term available was three years, and the teen's serious offending warranted a longer sentence.

But the judge recommended the Adult Parole Board consider transferring the 18-year-old to a youth justice centre because prison could hinder his rehabilitation.

The teen was banned from driving for 3.5 years.

Cooper's girlfriend, Jasmine Williams, was admonished by the judge on Friday for taking a photo inside the courtroom this week.

Her phone contained a single photograph of the jailed teen's family and friends.

Ms Williams said she was trying to take a picture of her eyelash when she accidentally snapped the shot.

The judge was sceptical, but didn't take the matter further after ordering the image be deleted.

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