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A motorcyclist travelling an estimated 175kmh while overtaking a line of traffic on the Lewis Pass Highway ‘‘was not in a hurry’’ at the time, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.
Mosgiel painter Brent Edward John McLean (52) had no idea how fast he was going during the passing manoeuvre. He had taken the opportunity to overtake a long line of traffic on a straight piece of road, counsel Nathan Laws said.
McLean, who was riding a 2011 1250cc Suzuki at the time, told Judge Michael Crosbie it was ‘‘the only squirt of the whole trip’’.
He admitted driving at a dangerous speed at Manuka Creek on the Lewis Pass Highway on February 8 and was fined $800. He was also banned from driving for nine months.
Police prosecutor Tim Hambleton said McLean had been in a line of traffic on a long straight when a car ahead of him pulled out and passed several vehicles at high speed. The defendant, who was further back in the line, also pulled out and reached speeds of 160kmh to 175kmh during the overtaking manoeuvre. He also passed the overtaking vehicle which had pulled back into the traffic.
McLean was still going about 160kmh when he passed a patrol car beside the road. When the patrol car followed him and flashed its lights, the defendant pulled over.
Mr Laws said McLean had no previous Land Transport convictions, although he had a limited demerit point history. But there was nothing since 2011. The loss of licence would be difficult for McLean as he had lost his job at the end of last year, Mr Laws said.
‘‘You need to watch your speed,’’ Judge Crosbie said, telling the defendant the very high speed meant the disqualification had to be more than the minimum.
But he agreed the fine could be paid by weekly instalments, the amount of which could be increased once McLean was working again.