LOYALTY between mates has nearly cost a young Golden Square woman her freedom, with a judge warning this week he would have imprisoned her for six months if she had not confessed to lying to police.
The 27-year-old beauty professional pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice and will instead perform community service work and undertake a community corrections order.
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County Court Judge Geoff Chettle said he believed she was genuinely remorseful for her actions and he had received a positive character evaluation on her behalf.
"It describes you as a very loving, caring and loyal person," he said.
"You seem to be hardworking and honest... and truly remorseful for your offending."
The court had previously heard that the woman had received a call from a close male friend in April 2021, 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.
The woman, Aubree Mitchell, received an early morning phone call from the friend the following day, asking her to cover for him. He asked 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.
Prosecutor David Cordy told Bendigo County Court the woman, who had a previously clean record, had made a false police statement, removed an axe from the car and wiped it down for fingerprints.
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 carrying out the removal of potential evidence.
Judge Chettle said Mitchell had spoken to police numerous times between April 24 and May 6 before admitting to the truth.
"Your conduct was not a spur of the moment single act - you engaged in a carefully planned continuous course of conduct designed to ensure (the friend) was protected from proper prosecution by the police," he said.
Judge Chettle said he would record a conviction and that if she had not pleaded guilty he would have imposed a sentence of 15 months in prison with a six-month non parole period.
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