Driver banned until 2053 caught getting cash to buy car
BUYING a car should have been the last thing on the mind of a South Grafton man disqualified from driving until 2053.
However a trip to the bank, behind the wheel of the car he was planning to purchase, ended in him fleeing from police and a prison sentence.
Scott Robert Harding, 48, appeared in Grafton Local Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to take and drive conveyance without consent of owner, and a raft of driving offences, including drive in a manner dangerous, not obey directions of police and driving while disqualified.
According to police, on October 29 Harding made inquiries about a vehicle displaying a for sale sign.
After some haggling he asked the owner if he could borrow the car to drive to the bank to withdraw money.
While driving to the bank, police patrolling the area saw Harding disobey a no entry sign and turn north onto Bent St.
They recognised the driver as being disqualified from driving since 1998.
Police followed Harding over the Grafton Bridge before they attempted to stop him.
However he refused and attempted to flee, breaking a number of road rules including speeding through the Grafton Shoppingworld undercover carpark at more than 50km/h.
Harding continued to evade police, driving onto the wrong side of the road and overtaking vehicles on the left before the initial police who were following lost sight of Harding due to his speed on Arthur St.
About 30 seconds later police vehicles travelling south on the Summerland Way saw Harding driving at an above average speed in the opposite direction.
Police turned their vehicle around and attempted to catch up with him but could not.
Harding was last seen going north through Junction Hill.
At 11.20am plain-clothed police were patrolling Whiporie and saw Harding walking north on Summerland Way.
Harding waved the officers down and asked for a ride to Grafton.
When he discovered they were police he said he was going to Casino to visit his mum.
Harding was later taken into custody, and the vehicle was discovered destroyed.
Harding told police the vehicle had caught fire.
In Grafton Local Court on Tuesday, Harding's lawyer John Kelly said his client suffered from a bipolar condition, and his medication had been stolen before the offence.
Mr Kelly said Harding had every intention of going to the bank to withdraw money to buy the car.
However when police attempted to stop him it triggered a "fight or flight" response, due to his mental health, and Harding chose the option of trying to flee.
Magistrate Jeff Linden sentenced Harding to 12 months behind bars, with a non-parole period of four months.
With time served, Harding will be eligible for release at the end of the month.