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Man jailed over 180kmh police pursuit

SCENE OF ARREST: Newcastle man Siesi Taufaao pleaded guilty to the high-speed pursuit on the Pacific Hwy in February.
SCENE OF ARREST: Newcastle man Siesi Taufaao pleaded guilty to the high-speed pursuit on the Pacific Hwy in February. Matthew Deans

A MAN has been jailed after he took police on a high-speed chase at 180kmh.

Siesi Taufaao, 22, appeared by police custody video link in the Coffs Harbour Local Court on Monday to plead guilty to seven driving offences that occurred north of Coffs Harbour.

The court heard Taufaao had been travelling southbound on the Pacific Hwy in a Holden sedan when he clocked speeds of 160kmh south of Halfway Creek on February 11.

When police pursued the vehicle, Taufaao then accelerated to 180kmh.

He then proceeded to overtake a vehicle in an exclusion area at a blind crest, causing the pursuit to be terminated, police prosecutor Senior Constable Nicholas Dixon told the court.

A second police pursuit later commenced at the Pacific Hwy near Moonee and Taufaao turned into Moonee Beach Rd - clocking speeds of 120kmh in a 50kmh residential zone.

His vehicle tried to negotiate a roundabout before losing control, spinning 180 degrees and coming face-to-face with the Highway Patrol sedan.

Taufaao then caused the vehicle to accelerate, leaving harsh smoke and rubber on the road before turning in to Moonee Creek Dr.

The sedan then lost control and Taufaao surrendered to police.

Taufaao pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, disqualified driving, police pursuit - not stop, and two offences of reckless driving and exceeding speeds of 45kmh.

His solicitor, Caitlin Akthar, told the court although her client had a poor record of driving for a man of his age, he had a need for rehabilitation to address sustained alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression.

Magistrate Jeff Linden noted that at the time of the offence, Taufaao was subject to an extensive correction order for a similar matter.

He had also been disqualified from driving until April 30, 2032.

In his sentencing remarks, Magistrate Linden said there had to be deterrence for this type of activity.

"This is absolutely appalling driving (for a man) who has an appalling record of driving," Magistrate Linden said.

He convicted and sentenced Taufaao to 15 months jail but declared the 89 days he had spent in custody since his arrest as time already served and ordered he be released on parole on May 10, 2016.

Topics:  coffs clarence local area command coffs harbour local court high speed pursuit moonee beach nsw police pacific highway unlicenced driving



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