A Riverina teen jailed after leading police on a pursuit across Wagga has lost an appeal against his sentence in the Wagga District Court.
Yerong Creek's Riley Haisell, 19, was one of almost 600 people to be arrested for serious offences as part of a statewide blitz Operation Amarok III in July.
During the four-day operation, Highway Patrol officers were conducting patrols around Wagga on July 12 when they saw a wanted man, Haisell, driving a vehicle with unauthorised registration plates at the intersection of Kincaid and Moorong streets.
When he failed to stop on the Olympic Highway, police initiated a pursuit, with Haisell leading them through Ashmont, Glenfield Park, Mount Austin, and Tolland, at speeds of up to 160kmh - at least twice the posted speed limit.
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After approximately 10 minutes, Haisell brought the vehicle to a stop at a cul-de-sac on Parkhurst Street and fled on foot, forcing police to give chase before they tackled him to the ground and arrested him a short distance away.
During a subsequent search of the vehicle, police located three knives - a large hunting knife, a second large knife and a box cutting knife.
Last month, Haisell was sentenced on charges of failing to stop and leading police in pursuit while driving dangerously, driving and speeding in a dangerous manner and being found in custody of a knife in a public place.
He was handed a 15-month term of imprisonment with a non-parole period of six months.
On Wednesday, Haisell appealed against the severity of the sentence, with his legal representation calling on Judge Gordon Lerve to instead replace the term of imprisonment with an intensive corrections order.
Judge Lerve told the court the "serious example of a pursuit went for some 10 minutes through some major thoroughfares of Wagga at significant speeds."
He told the court it was the "sixth appeal in a week-and-a-half on police pursuits... it's got to the point where it's now an issue of general deterrence."
Addressing the court via AVL from Junee Correctional Centre, Haisell told the court the night prior to the pursuit he attended a "mate's house" at Ganmain to lend him a hand working on his car.
Haisell said he stayed up all night before dropping by another friend's place to pick up more possessions, saying it was at this point the knives came to be in his car.
He then re-fuelled the car at Coolamon and stopped by his grandfather's grave site before heading to Wagga.
Haisell told the court he panicked when police activated their sirens and "didn't know what to do."
"I was running on no sleep and really scared," he said.
He accepted that police "would have been scared" and "in danger", and that he could have killed or seriously hurt members of the public during the high speed chase.
He expressed remorse for the incident and a desire to get out of custody and secure a job to support his family.
He also expressed hope at getting his mental health back on track and returning to his beloved sport of motorbike racing.
"Time in custody has been a big lesson for me... it [has put me] way out of my comfort zone," he said.
Cross-examining Haisell, the crown prosecutor said he had "shown a consistent disregard for traffic rules" as it was not the first time he had broken road rules.
The other incident, the court heard, had taken place about two weeks prior to the pursuit during which Haisell was charged on two counts of prolonged sustained loss of traction. He was convicted for those matters in September.
The crown prosecutor went on to argue that Haisell did not show genuine remorse for his actions.
"Do you understand the difference between regretting something after it has happened and feeling genuine remorse for your actions," she questioned.
"I would suggest to you that you feel regret... because you are in custody, rather than genuine remorse."
The court heard Haisell had made multiple attempts to seek help and undertake programs necessary for rehabilitation during his three months in custody.
Counsel for the defence told the court he believed Haisell has good prospects of rehabilitation, however Judge Lerve disagreed.
He told the court he was not convinced Haisell would not re-offend.
He also expressed concern that handing down intensive corrections orders to offenders involved in police pursuits was becoming all too common a practice and found "there is a significant risk of re-offending in a manner that may affect public safety."
Judge Lerve said community safety, while not the sole consideration, was paramount, and that the "issue of general deterrance looms large."
He was ultimately "not persuaded that anything other than full time detention would effectively promote community safety."
In reaching his decision, Judge Lerve told the court if he could have his way he would have imposed on Haisell a sentence of one year and eight months with a non-parole period of 12 months.
However, he was unable to increase the sentence and threw out the appeal with the original sentence to continue and Haisell's set to be released on parole on January 11, 2024.
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