An ACT man who repeatedly drove on the wrong side of the Kings Highway to evade police has been jailed for 12 months.
Jacob Anthony Fielding, 23, of Ainslie, was carrying a 15-year-old female passenger during two high-speed police pursuits between Braidwood and Batemans Bay on August 23, 2019.
He appeared by audio-visual link in Batemans Bay Local Court on Monday, November 4, before magistrate Jennifer Atkinson.
Police said Fielding was seen at 12.43pm driving east in a blue Ford Fiesta reported stolen from Civic. A pursuit began when he failed to stop, but was terminated when Fielding crossed double unbroken lines to overtake.
Police said the car was seen at 1.11pm near Nelligen and Fielding again sped away.
Approaching the Nelligen bridge, he tried to overtake over double unbroken lines but oncoming traffic forced him back. On the bridge, he again crossed double unbroken lines to overtake and was forced back.
Police said he then swerved onto the wrong side in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid road spikes. He kept driving despite two deflated tyres, crossing 15 times onto the wrong side of the road.
Police said Fielding drove at between 110-130km/h in 90 zones.
East of Rotary Drive, his rear offside tyre was dislodged, but he drove on the rim at 120km/h in a 100km zone, several times on the wrong side of the road.
Police said Fielding repeatedly forced oncoming traffic to evade him.
Near the Kings Highway-Princes Highway roundabout, police said Fielding crossed double unbroken lines at more than 60km/h and entered the roundabout on the wrong side.
Police terminated the pursuit, but Fielding was arrested hiding in the yard of a house on Peninsula Drive, Surfside at 1.25pm.
Records showed he had never held a driving licence in any state or territory.
Fielding pleaded guilty to police pursuit, receiving property stolen outside NSW and driving while unlicensed.
Defence solicitor Adam Sumbak told the court Fielding had daughters aged four and one years and wanted to make amends.
"He has had a chronic drug problem since he was 13 or 14 years old and has been using ice since the age of 17," Mr Sumbak said.
"It is something he has not been able to shake.
"He has always run with the wrong crowd."
Mr Sumbak said his client had suffered "from crippling anxiety" since adolescence.
He said Fielding prior to the car chase had taken some steps forward, working almost fulltime in landscaping, living with his partner and seeking counselling.
However, he then fell out with his partner and was using drugs.
"A younger person (asked) did he want to get away down the coast," Mr Sumbak told the court.
He said his client was unaware the vehicle was stolen until the pair reached Braidwood
"He went into panic mode and he sped away," Mr Sumbak said.
"He posed a great danger to a large number of the public. In some misguided way he might have been trying to protect the young person in the car."
Magistrate Atkinson rejected Mr Sumbak's request for special consideration.
"I am guarded about his prospects for rehabiliation," she said.
Fielding had been released on parole in January from an ACT prison and while he did not have NSW convictions, his lengthy ACT record did not help him.
"Your record is terrible," Magistrate Atkinson said.
"The (ACT) magistrate gave you a chance and you blew it. You have matters right through your history."
She said Fielding had put the public and police at risk.
"This is a really serious matter. You should not even have been near a car. If there had been a crash ... you would have been facing years in jail.
"I have no option but to impose a jail sentence."
Magistrate Atkinson said she took account of Fielding's guilty plea and imposed a non-parole period of nine months, backdated to August 31. He would be eligible for release at the end of May 2020.
She imposed a three-year driving disqualification and a warning: "If you keep driving and doing the things we have seen you will be spending a long time in jail."
Fielding was supported in court by his parents and siblings.