Red zone chase driver gets home detention

Andrew Shaw’s desperate dash through the red zone after a building site burglary has drawn a five-month home detention sentence.

The 32-year-old will also be disqualified from driving for nine months and will have to do 180 hours of community work – 80 hours of it imposed in place of his $3283 backlog of unpaid fines.

Shaw will serve home detention at a stable address where he lives with his partner and children, and he may be able to work.

He will have to pay for the damage he did to red zone fences during his drive, and a house under construction that was damaged, and also for damage to the unlawfully taken car he was driving.

Shaw had admitted burglary of a shipping container, dangerous driving, failing to stop for the police, driving while prohibited, and unlawfully getting into a car.

Defence counsel Ruth Harcourt said Shaw’s compliance during nearly seven months on electronically monitored bail had been “impeccable”. He had struggled to get work without a driver’s licence, but his commitment to work during his sentence had never wavered.

Judge Tom Gilbert said Shaw had “an unhappy driving history – and that’s putting it generously” as well as dishonesty convictions on his record. But he had received a positive report from probation, and his sentence would be reduced because of his compliance while on bail and time spent in custody before that.

The car was taken from outside a Papanui address on February 18.

Two weeks later, about 4.30am on March 3, Shaw broke into a locked container at a building site in Evelyn Couzins Avenue, Richmond. He took a large quantity of tools including nail guns, generators, post-hole borers and ladders worth $15,000 and loaded them into the Toyota.

He drove away from the scene but by then the police had been alerted to the suspicious behaviour and saw him stopped at a red light nearby at the corner of North Parade and North Avon Road.

When the police car used its lights and siren, he sped away at 80kmh, with his headlights turned off, and drove on the wrong side of the road.

He drove through a red traffic light on North Avon Road at 50kmh, and then turned onto Evelyn Couzins Avenue where he drove at speed through empty sections and crashed through fences that were securing the red zone area.

He lost control on Medway Street before abandoning the car and fleeing on foot. Police caught him soon after on the roof of a house. He was found with a balaclava and two pairs of gloves.

The stolen tools were recovered.

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