POLICE PURSUIT: Man jailed despite sticking to speed limit
LEADING police on a slow speed chase on and off the streets of Yamba has put a 28-year-old father of five in jail until November.
In Grafton Local Court yesterday Martin Bernard Collins was sentenced to 16 months' jail for a period of mayhem in Yamba St on March 9.
The court heard police attempted to stop Collins, who was on parole at the time, for a breath test in Wooli St on March 9, but he panicked and refused to stop.
Although pursued, Collins's black Ford Territory did not resort to high speed for much of the chase.
Pursuing police reported he stayed within a 20-40km/h speed range as he negotiated streets and roundabouts.
Another marked police car joined the pursuit and Collins accelerated up to 90km/h to escape.
He left the road and travelled across an open grassed area behind houses in Robinson St, with police flashing their lights and sounding their sirens.
Police also reported Collins crossed to the wrong side of the road twice, on one occasion causing an oncoming car to swerve out of his way.
Eventually he stopped, left his car and police were able to arrest him.
Officers said they noticed he smelt strongly of alcohol and admitted to them "I'm pissed".
But he refused a random breath test and a later breath analysis and was found to be unlicensed. He was also charged with failing to stop, police pursuit and exceeding the speed limit by 30kmh.
Collins's solicitor Michael Lantis said his client's behaviour clearly involved serious breaches of the law, but pleaded mitigating circumstances.
He said he came from an extremely abusive childhood involving domestic violence and alcohol abuse.
Collins's jail sentence included a non-parole period of eight months, beginning from March 9. He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months. When he leaves jail on November 8 Collins will begin an 18-month Community Corrections Order for the refuse breath test charge.