A TRAGIC story of drug addiction, fear, violence and dysfunction unfolded in Dubbo Local Court when a 26-year-old man was jailed for using a vehicle as a weapon during a high-speed police pursuit through residential streets.
Magistrate Andrew Eckhold heard Shannon Kirby had been a neglected child who received no formal schooling.
He was given a car at age 10 by his drug dealer father, started using illicit drugs at 11 and became hooked on heroin at 14.
Kirby moved from youth refuge to youth refuge to escape physical and mental abuse.
The court heard the troubled boy grew into a disturbed man, driven by an urgent need to obtain drugs. The addiction led to widespread offending and a criminal record littered with break and enters, theft and demands for property by force.
Yesterday Kirby was downcast and subdued when he faced Magistrate Eckhold via audiovisual link from Bathurst Correctional Centre.
Guilty pleas were entered to charges of police pursuit, reckless and unlicensed driving, resisting police and using an offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention.
Magistrate Eckhold was told Kirby had injected methamphetamine (commonly known as ice) before he got behind the wheel of a Holden Commodore on November 2 last year.
Police saw him driving along High Street at 10.30pm. The vehicle’s registration plate was dangling and the patrol car did a u-turn with the intention of performing a traffic stop. Kirby overtook two vehicles and accelerated to 120km/h in a 50km/h zone in an attempt to avoid police.
A pursuit was initiated as the Commodore raced down Wheelers Lane at 100km/h and entered a number of roads in Keswick Estate before returning to Wheelers Lane.
When Kirby turned into Eumung Street a police car was positioned at the end of the cul-de-sac in an attempt to block the Commodore.
Police exited their vehicle and called on Kirby to stop.
The court heard the Commodore accelerated harshly at police, forcing an officer to jump out of the way.
Kirby roared out of Eumung Street into Wheelers Lane as more police cars joined the pursuit.
The offending vehicle travelled at high speed along Douglas Mawson Drive, Hume and Myall Streets, Braun Avenue, Houston Drive, Armstrong Crescent, Columbia Drive and Collins Avenue.
Police lost sight of Kirby and terminated the pursuit at 10.36pm. Five minutes later the pursuit resumed when police saw Kirby in John Glenn Place.
The Commodore was pursued through Hume Street and Douglas Mawson Drive where a left-side tyre blew. Kirby kept driving into Wheelers Lane and lost control at the Myall Street roundabout, rotating three times before slamming into a police car. With his damaged vehicle flushed against the wreck of the police car, Kirby attempted to drive away and collided with another police car.
The court heard he accelerated harshly in an attempt to escape a police blockade. Officers approached Kirby with firearms drawn. With the engine of the Commodore still running, he again accelerated in an attempt to avoid apprehension.
Police said Kirby’s actions posed a significant risk to a large number of residents who had left their homes and crowded into the area.
Kirby was placed in handcuffs and forced onto the ground where he resisted and tried to spit at arresting officers. Police directed capsicum spray to his face. The solicitor representing Kirby said the spray caused his client into a psychosis.
“He can’t remember what happened and had no idea why he was taken to the police station,’’ the solicitor said.
“In the weeks leading up to the offence he had been on an ice binge following the suicide of a cousin. His partner suffered a miscarriage and he tried to kill himself in custody.
“We ask the court to make a finding of special circumstances due to the need for drug rehabilitation.’’
Magistrate Eckhold said Kirby was on a bond for break and enter at the time of the police pursuit.
“It is sad to see you re-offend in a way that put so many lives at risk,’’ the magistrate said.
“You were on ice and out of control. I have tried to give you an opportunity to rehabilitate - that is beyond you at this time but it doesn’t mean you can’t do better in the future.’’
Magistrate Eckhold revoked the good behaviour bond previously imposed by the court and sentenced Kirby to 18 months in jail with a non-parole period of four months.
He received a total of three years jail for two police pursuit charges, five months for reckless driving, 16 months for resisting police and two years for using a car as a weapon.
Magistrate Eckhold ordered the sentences to be served as an aggregate term of 18 months with a non-parole period of six months.
“You will spend a long time on parole,’’ the magistrate said.
“You need supervision, drug rehabilitation and psychiatric assistance.’’ Kirby was disqualified from driving for a total of four years.