A WOMAN who was the passenger in a stolen car that was evading police around Bendigo has avoided conviction.
The 25-year-old appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Friday where she pleaded guilty to offences including theft of a motor vehicle.
The court heard about 9.50am on September 21, the woman and two associates were walking in Bendigo.
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One of the men disappeared for a few minutes and came back with a stolen Ford Ranger, valued at $40,000.
The 25-year-old freely entered the car and was sitting in the passenger seat as it drove around Bendigo.
Officers saw the stolen vehicle about 10.30am and tried to intercept the car, but the driver refused to follow police directions.
The group evaded officers for about two hours as they drove around the Bendigo and Loddon areas.
They eventually dumped the car along Crusoe Road in Kangaroo Flat and fled from the vehicle.
The woman ran to a property in Kangaroo Flat where she called the police and handed herself in.
The 25-year-old admitted to knowing the car was stolen but said the driver made her terrified to try and leave.
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Defence lawyer Rebecca Heley told the court the woman had a difficult 12 months where she was the victim of a kidnapping and experienced family violence.
Ms Heley said her client was still experiencing homelessness but was connected to services so she could obtain housing and counselling.
The defence lawyer submitted that a moderate fine or a community corrections order was within range for the offending.
But Magistrate Trieu Huynh said a good behaviour bond without conviction was more appropriate.
Mr Huynh said he accepted the woman had a "rough time" over the past year, which did not excuse the offending but provided some context.
The magistrate said her involvement in the theft of the motor vehicle was at the lower end.
The woman was handed a 12-month good behaviour bond without conviction. She was also ordered to pay $200 to the court fund and continue to engage with support services.
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