Father jailed for joy ride

A MAN who went on a joy ride in two stolen cars has been jailed for 12 months.

Christopher James Blackburn, 26, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday to two counts of driving without a licence and two of unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Fiona Ward told the court Blackburn got in an unlocked car, which had the keys inside, at a property in Moore Park Beach.

Snr Const Ward said Blackburn was later seen “driving erratically” along Murdochs Rd, where he had mounted a footpath.

A witness then saw the car stop outside the Moore Park State School, where the defendant hit a light pole before fleeing through the school grounds.

A short time later, police pulled over a Toyota ute on Mt Perry Rd, where the driver matched Blackburn’s description.

Snr Const Ward told Magistrate Jennifer Batts that Blackburn had “significant” previous history for similar offences and had been on parole three weeks before the car thefts.

She said the accused had only ever held a learner’s licence, which had been suspended.

She deemed 18 months to two years imprisonment as appropriate punishment for the offences.

Defence lawyer Matt Messenger said his client, a father of two daughters, had an ongoing amphetamine addiction and had only committed stand-alone offences with “no circumstances of aggravation”.

“Chris was keen to have this dealt with at an early opportunity,” he said.

Ms Batts took into account Blackburn’s early plea and personal circumstances in her sentencing.

“You are still a young-ish adult, but unless you can address this matter of amphetamine addiction you are only going to be looking at longer periods of imprisonment,” she said.

Ms Batts sentenced Blackburn to 12 months imprisonment for the two charges of the unlawful use of a motor vehicle, and declared five days already served.

He was also sentenced to two months jail each for the unlicensed driving.

Blackburn is eligible for parole on October 28.

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