A LONG gully man who led police on numerous highspeed pursuits because he ‘‘knew they would abandon their chase’’ has been jailed.
Dwane Harding, 27, was sentenced to six months in prison for a range of driving offences including reckless conduct endangering lives and driving under the influence of illicit drugs.
Harding drove away from police at 150km/h through a 60km/h zone on Retreat Road, Spring Gully on March 7.
The Bendigo Magistrates Court heard Harding had been driving at 90km/h through 50km/h residential streets in Flora Hill about 6am.
Police were eventually forced to terminate their pursuit because of safety concerns.
Harding was arrested a short time later at a home in Kangaroo Flat.
He told police at the time he had sped off because he knew police would abandon the pursuit if he drove fast enough.
In another abandoned pursuit, Harding was observed driving at 170km/h through an 80km/h zone in Big Hill at 1am on March 24.
He was recorded driving at 122km/h in a 50km/h zone but ignored the lights and sirens of pursuing police cars.
The pursuits formed part of 17 listed driving offences committed between February and March. Magistrate Frank Jones said Harding had shown a disregard for the safety of the community.
He said it was fortunate no-one was injured or killed while Harding was driving.
‘‘[A car is] a lethal weapon,’’ he said. ‘‘If you lost control of the car you could have killed yourself or some innocent person.’’
Defence lawyer Marcus Williams said his client’s driving offences resulted from a one month period
where Harding’s life had ‘‘gone down hill’’.
Mr Williams said Harding — who has two children aged two and five years old — was experiencing a relationship breakdown and had turned to using drugs.
Harding held his head in his hands as the offences were detailed and cried out when he was handed the six month sentence.
‘‘I’m pleading with you as a father, please,’’ Harding said to the magistrate.
Magistrate Jones said he felt for Harding’s family but said the community must be protected.
Harding was sentenced to six months in prison, with an additional six-month sentence wholly suspended for two years.
He was fined $800 and had his licence cancelled and disqualified for two years.