'You’re going to kill someone': Crime spree ends in jail time

Finn Smith. Photo: ODT files
Finn Smith. Photo: ODT files
Finn Smith has never held a driver’s licence — but he is a menace behind the wheel.

The 22-year-old appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday on a slew of drug and driving charges, a crime spree that started when he was still completing his last sentence.

In March last year, Smith was sentenced to four months’ home detention following a string of disqualified driving charges which culminated in a wild police chase through southern Otago.

He reached speeds of 120kmh in Balclutha, overtook four vehicles on a blind corner, dodged police tyre spikes in Waihola, sped through Taieri Mouth and Brighton, and was finally arrested at his St Kilda home.

"F... yahs, let’s see if you have the evidence," Smith told police.

It turned out they did.

Judge David Robinson was astounded by a Probation report which assessed Smith as a medium risk of reoffending and low risk of harm to others.

"If you continue to drive in the manner you have, bluntly, you’re going to kill someone," he said.

"That’s the inevitable consequence."

But the message did not hit home.

At yesterday’s sentencing, the court heard Smith began selling drugs while serving the home-detention term.

He offered to sell $1750 of the class-B drug ecstasy and $700 of cannabis, cellphone data revealed.

Over several days at the start of August, Smith sold the class-C substance to three people.

When police raided his house a week later, they found a chemical cutting agent, 2g cannabis, two sets of scales and $705 cash.

Despite the mounting trouble, Smith’s wayward ways continued.

On August 17, just a week after police seized his drugs, the defendant was driving two friends around in his Audi.

Smith had no licence, the vehicle had a smashed windscreen, no registration plates and no warrant.

In Butts Rd, police deployed road spikes in a bid to avoid another dangerous pursuit.

Smith though completed a U-turn on to a grass bank and sped off along a footpath.

However, another set of spikes pierced a back tyre as he made his escape. Smith weaved through traffic despite the damage to the Audi, repeatedly driving on the wrong side of the road.

Police abandoned the chase but caught up with the defendant in Port Chalmers where they finally arrested him.

In the back of the car, officers found cannabis, a grinder, a metal pipe and a bong.

Judge Dominic Flatley asked Smith what he planned to do with his life.

"Definitely turn it around," he said.

"How?" the judge asked

"Probably get a job."

"Doing what?"

"I don’t know. Working on cars."

Smith was jailed for three years and disqualified from driving for the same period.

The court heard he would soon be eligible for parole given the time he had spent on remand.