Grandma’s getaway from cops ‘put lives at risk’
A grandmother on her learner licence panicked when she saw the flashing lights of a police car in her rear vision mirror.
What Sandra Edith Gillen did next put lives at risk, according to police prosecutor Bonita Pienaar.
Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Tuesday heard the 48 year old was driving without an open licence holder when police tried to pull her over on August 27.
Gillen did three laps of a roundabout at Bli Bli before taking off.
"The defendant has evaded police in a built-up area where she has crossed double lines, driven around two vehicles on the wrong side of the road, through a solid red traffic light, crossed back onto the right side of the road and continued driving at high speed narrowly avoiding a wide-scale traffic crash," Constable Pienaar said.
"The defendant has displayed disgraceful conduct and placed lives at risk due to her selfish and reckless attitude."
Police did not chase Gillen.
The Bli Bli woman pleaded guilty to four charges including the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail.
Constable Pienaar said an appropriate sentence was nine months in jail, to serve a third.
Defence lawyer Ben Rynderman disagreed, arguing actual custody would be excessive.
He highlighted the dangerous driving was not protracted and occurred over a short distance.
"When she saw police she simply panicked and bolted, having been fined for driving unaccompanied as a learner previously," Mr Rynderman said.
He said his client lived with her partner of 33 years, their two children and grandchildren.
Mr Rynderman argued probation was appropriate.
A passionate debate between Mr Rynderman and magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist regarding the suitability of probation ultimately resulted in Mr Stjernqvist holding a different view.
He said the only available penalty for the evade offence was the minimum of 50 penalty units or 50 days in jail.
Gillen was fined $6700 and her licence was disqualified for two years.
No convictions were recorded on Gillen's criminal record.