LOANING a car to a friend who promptly put an axe in the vehicle and used it to run from police has landed a Golden Square woman in court.
The 27-year-old is facing a potential jail term for lying to investigators to help keep a male friend out of trouble during April 2021.
Prosecutor David Cordy told Bendigo County Court the woman, with a previously clean record, should receive a prison term for lying to police, making a false statement, removing the axe from the car and wiping it down for fingerprints.
The court was told that beauty professional, Aubree Mitchell, had attended a wedding and had received a call from a close male friend who wanted to borrow her car and she had agreed.
Unknown to her, the friend had been on bail at the time and was breaking a court-ordered curfew. He drove the car to a well-known drug buying area and fled police when they tried to pull the vehicle over.
Mitchell received an early morning phone call the following day, asking her to tell police her number plates had been stolen. She instead told investigators that she had parked the car and left it and believed it was still in the same place.
"She lied to police to protect her friend for no good reason," Mr Cordy said.
"She had complete contempt for the process of what police have to do in terms of investigating crime and she was intent in blocking their investigation to cover for her friend."
Mitchell has pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The court was told that the axe was not used to commit crimes, but its removal from the vehicle and the wiping down of fingerprints had thwarted police attempts to gather evidence against the driver.
Mr Cordy said it was a serious continuation from making a false statement to carry out the removal of potential evidence.
"Whether it's par for the course for people to be driving around with axes in Bendigo is irrelevant," he said. "This is a mid-range attempt to pervert the course of justice."
However, a defence barrister for Mitchell said it had been a "naive, unsophisticated" example of offending that had gained her no financial benefit.
"She felt she had to protect her friend after she was told he had evaded police and if he was caught he would go to jail," she said.
"At that period of time she felt they were very best friends - they had daily contact with each other. However, following the search warrant of her house and her arrest she has had no contact with him and has disengaged with that social group. The reason behind her following the directions of her friend was misguided loyalty and an inability to say 'no'."
She said her client did not realise how serious the penalties were for misleading police, but would like to be placed on a good behaviour bond and was very unlikely to reoffend.
"There is no allegation of violence or threats, it's a naieve example of offending. She has not realised the gravity of (what she was doing) at the time," she said.
Judge Geoffrey Cheetle said he would order an assessment for Mitchell's suitability for a community corrections order and would adjourn the case until June 21.
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