It must have been a toss-up for the judge: send a car thief to jail or have him committed to a loony bin.
The judge opted for a jail term (but not lengthy enough by several years to appease Alf).
Instead (according to the account of proceedings at Stuff ) –
Lewis Gordon Stirling was sentenced in Nelson District Court to eight months in jail on a raft of charges, including reckless driving, dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, disqualified driving, receiving, assault and breaching bail.
Gordon [sic] was one of four people in a stolen Holden Commodore which led police on a 40-kilometre chase through Blenheim and along State Highway 6 which only ended with police laying road spikes in Havelock.
It seems the bugger led the cops on a chase when speeds in excess of 190kmh were reached.
On February 8 Stirling was seen in Blenheim in a Holden Commodore which records showed was stolen.
Judge Barry said Stirling, who had his younger brother and another passenger in the car, sped away from police on Grove Rd, reaching speeds of 120kmh in the 50kmh residential area.
Stirling had to swerve around vehicles endangering people in the residential area and also putting his life and the lives of his passengers at risk.
If the consequence had been nothing more than his own demise in a high-speed crash, Stirling would have spared taxpayers the cost of a trial and his incarceration and hence done something socially commendable.
But the consequences in these cases too often are the deaths of innocent citizens, which makes this sort of carry-on highly anti-social.
He continued evading police down High St and swerved into oncoming traffic.
Judge Barry said Stirling continued towards Havelock through Renwick, reaching speeds of 150kmh to 190kmh.
Police laid road spikes in Havelock, causing the vehicle to mount a kerb, Stirling and a passenger fled the scene while Stirling’s younger brother remained in the car.
You’ve got to wonder about the moral fibre of a bloke who abandons his brother when the shit hits the fan.
Judge Barry said Stirling had amassed 12 convictions since May 2009, including drink-driving and assault.
He said a pre-sentence report showed Stirling and associates were committing crimes at night, selling the proceeds during the day, drinking away the proceeds before going out again at night to prey on more citizens.
Stirling admitted other charges of unlawfully entering a property in Nelson’s Van Diemen St and breaking into cars and stealing items by smashing their windows with a baseball bat at Port Nelson.
In other words, the bugger is fast becoming a hardened criminal.
Stirling’s lawyer, Brett Daniell-Smith, said Stirling’s parents had split up when he was young (violins here, please), but his father and stepmother had a strong influence on him.
Daniell-Smith said his client accepted he was the main offender and would receive a jail sentence – but then he came up with this:
He said Stirling was petrified during the police pursuit and thought it would be abandoned when he reached speeds of 160kmh, which was why he kept going.
But strictly speaking, that would mean he was stunned or paralyzed with terror.
It seems to Alf this more than somewhat over-states the situation, because once he became paralyzed with terror, the car would have left the road and the chase would have come to an abrupt end.
So he was terrified, maybe, but not so terrified that he lost his grip on the accelerator and the wheel or the wits to keep the vehicle on the road until he hit the spikes.
The sane thing to do was slow down.
Hence Alf’s view that he was a prime candidate for despatching to a loony bin.
This opinion is fortified by the fact the felon flogged a Holden Commodore.
If you are going to nick a car, you are mad if you don’t nick a classy one.
And if you aim to try to out-run the cops, you are mad if you don’t steal a car that will do the job.