Slew of driving offences 'put public at risk'

A Dunedin man who routinely showed "complete disregard" for the safety of other road users has been locked up for 14 months.

Cleveland Pierre Todd’s driving woes began benignly enough on November 27 last year, the Dunedin District Court heard on Thursday.

He was suspended from driving for three months for excess demerit points.

Within 24 hours, though, the 24-year-old was pulled over by police for speeding, through which they discovered he was banned.

On December 15, it was the same story.

But this time, Todd did not pull over when officers activated their lights and sirens.

He sped up to 75kmh through the residential streets of South Dunedin, turning of his headlights and swerving on to the wrong side of the road.

Police eventually tracked down the defendant, who said he was "trying to do right" by his mate in the car, who was breaching bail.

With two sets of charges hanging over him, Todd continued his crime spree while on bail.

On February 19, he breached the suspension yet again, this time with his partner and child in the car.

When police stopped him, Todd pre-empted their inquiries.

"I know, I’ve got no licence, man," he said.

Despite it being the third transgression, Todd was bailed once more.

His lax attitude to his driving ban, it turned out, also extended to the Covid-19 lockdown provisions.

Between March 28 and April 9, Todd was warned four times by police about breaching Level 4 restrictions.

Even that was not enough to get the message through.

On April 23, Todd was driving with his girlfriend — not a member of his bubble — and was seen speeding through an intersection and cutting off other vehicles.

When officers told him he was under arrest and would be held in custody until his court hearing, the defendant accelerated away, almost hitting other cars as he did so.

Todd was tracked by police but the pursuit had to be abandoned as he reached speeds of 100kmh on the one-way system.

Officers lost the wild driver as he shot through red lights, narrowly avoiding collisions.

Six days later Todd was spotted on foot in North Dunedin.

Again, he fled, but this time he did not have the benefit of a vehicle.

A police dog located the defendant and bit him before he was taken into custody.

Defence counsel Brendan Stephenson said Todd had had time to reflect while locked up awaiting sentencing and now wanted to "work on himself".

Judge Mark Callaghan highlighted the sheer volume of driving offences and the fact the defendant had committed similar crimes in the past.

"Your driving around the city of Dunedin ... has placed members of the public at risk and in my view you have complete disregard for the safety of others," he said.

Though there was nowhere suitable for Todd to serve home detention, the judge said the jail term could be converted should a viable address become available.

He was disqualified from driving for 21 months.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

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