Hefty driving ban for third police pursuit

A Kaiapoi man can’t drive again until 2021 after leading police on his third pursuit, after his sentencing in the Christchurch District Court today.

Christopher Warren Corfield, 34, was also jailed for two years but could be released in August with the normal remissions, after a long period in custody on remand.

New legislation imposes an additional two years’ driving disqualification – on top of other penalties –  for offenders who have been involved in pursuits twice before.

Corfield led police on a 20-minute high speed chase across the city on August 24. It was the second police chase for him in a year, the previous one ending with road spikes in Hillmorton and the car catching fire when he and the passengers got out.

This time, he was spotted at the corner of Anzac Drive and Breezes Road but drove off through a red light, on the wrong side of the road on QEII Drive, and through another red light in Redwood. Even after police spiked his tyres, he drove on three rims, reaching 110km an hour on Curletts Road.

He had to stop when the car lost two wheels.

Corfield admitted charges of failing to stop, reckless driving, disqualified driving, unlawful possession of a shotgun and ammunition which were found in the car, and breaches of prison release conditions and community work.

A charge of possession of the class B drug amphetamine for supply was dropped by the police. The substance was analysed and turned out not to be the suspected drug.

Defence counsel Paul Johnson said the pre-sentence report showed that Corfield knew that his major offending factor was his drug habit. When he had been stopped by the police, Corfield had panicked and driven off.

After his release, he wanted to live with a relative on the West Coast. He wished to spend more time with his eight-year-old daughter, and did not want her to have to come to the prison to see him.

Judge Brian Callaghan said he hoped Corfield would have a change of heart upon his release and would not continue to offend. Before his latest arrest, he had been wait-listed for counselling to help with his drug issues. He had a supported family who were disappointed with his continued offending.

The judge imposed a series of jail terms totalling 24 months, and three years of disqualification. He ordered the destruction of the shotgun and the cartridge the police found.

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