Canberra’s police union has taken aim at an ACT Supreme Court sentence for a young man who stole a Mercedes and wreaked havoc for two days as he drove dangerously throughout the capital, evading officers, and eventually collided with a police car before being tasered and captured.
- The man was sentenced to an intensive corrections order to be served in the community for the offences involving the Mercedes
- The Australian Federal Police Association criticised the sentence, saying on social media it was not enough
- Justice Michael Elkaim noted the man had been jailed for other offences for most of the time since his arrest
The Australian Federal Police Association released a video of the man’s arrest, which came after a pursuit that included him narrowly missing at least one officer trying to stop him from escaping in the car.
Documents tendered to the court showed in October last year, the man had stolen a Mercedes from a home in MacArthur in Canberra’s south.
The car was spotted racing a Toyota on the nearby Monaro Highway early the next morning.
The documents said when police tried to stop the cars, both drivers swerved onto the other side of the road and sped away in the wrong direction at speeds of about 130 kilometres per hour in a 100kph zone.
The Mercedes was next seen in Gungahlin in Canberra’s north, where it went through a red light.
Shortly afterwards, the documents said police spotted the offender travelling at a high speed in the suburb of Harrison, where officers followed him into the car park of a residential complex.
But efforts to stop the car by blocking the entrance were futile.
As the officers approached the car, the man reversed towards one of them, who narrowly escaped being hit, before the man again fled the scene.
Police finally caught up with the offender in the suburb of Turner, when he drove up a footpath in a bid to avoid them.
He narrowly missed one officer before crashing into a police car blocking his way.
One officer had to be taken to hospital.
The bodycam footage shows police officers tasering the man to get him out of the car he had been driving.
‘I could have lost the police officers their lives when they were only doing their job’
On Monday, the man, whose name has been suppressed because of his age at the time of some of his offences, was sentenced for 11 offences in the ACT Supreme Court.
In his judgement, Justice Michael Elkaim said the young man had intended to sell the car to buy drugs.
“The offender had been using illegal drugs for some time.
“Attempts to stop taking drugs have so far been unsuccessful.”
Justice Elkaim noted the seriousness of the offences, particularly when the offender drove at police, saying they had a right to expect their lives would not be unreasonably placed in jeopardy.
“But that does not mean that when they are placed in danger that should be regarded as an expected result or part of their employment.”
But he said the offender had recognised the danger of his actions, telling a pre-sentence report author: “I could have lost the police officers their lives when they were only doing their job.”
The court also heard the offender had been jailed for other offences for most of the time since his arrest for the incidents with the Mercedes.
Justice Elkaim noted he had been struggling in jail.
He said he would not impose further time behind bars but stopped short of a suspended sentence.
Instead, he sentenced the young man to a two-year intensive corrections order, with the threat of jail if he breached his conditions.
But the Australian Federal Police Association on Tuesday took to social media, saying the sentence was not enough.
“So in #CBR, you can steal a $75k+ Merc, go on a crime spree, nearly run over a few police officers, put the community in danger while driving under the influence of meth and nearly write off a police car by crashing into it… and all you’ll get is an intensive corrections order,” they said in a post.