The 34-year-old driver, Christopher Sultana, pleaded guilty to negligent driving occasioning death, which carries a maximum prison term of 18 months.
During the judge-alone trial, Sultana claimed he didn’t see Zhang and expressed his remorse and subsequent trauma over what had occurred.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Sophia Beckett said there was a “critical but momentary” period of inattention by Sultana that led him not to see Zhang while the truck was reversing for a second time.
Judge Beckett said there were about four seconds where Zhang would have been visible in the truck’s rear-view mirror which Sultana should have noted and adapted to.
However, she accepted in the moments before Zhang was struck she would have been in the truck’s blind spot and that Sultana’s driving on the day was otherwise “exemplary”.
Sultana was placed on a two-year community corrections order, during which he will conduct 200 hours community service, and was disqualified from driving for the minimum penalty period of 12 months.
He will also take part in a traffic offenders program.
In a victim impact statement delivered on Wednesday, Zhang’s daughter said her Christian faith helped her forgive Sultana for killing her mother.
“Because of your mistakes a daughter has lost her mum and these grandchildren have lost their last remaining grandparent,” Zhang told Sultana.
“I have chosen to forgive you Sultana because God has forgiven me for my sins.”
Prior to sentencing Sultana read aloud from an affidavit expressing how “truly and deeply sorry” he was for what occurred.
“I’ve wished over and over that I could restart that day,” he told the court.
“I want (the family) to know that regardless of the outcome of the final court day, this is something I will carry with me the rest of my life.”
Earlier in the trial, Judge Sophia Beckett found Sultana not guilty of the more serious charge of dangerous driving occasioning death, saying she was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt his driving at the time was dangerous.
Two other charges of failing to give way to a pedestrian and disobeying a no right turn sign were withdrawn.
Sultana began working for waste management firm JJ Richard & Sons four weeks before the incident and had driven the truck unsupervised for two days.