Tweed Heads West man behind bars over police chase
A TWEED Heads West man has been sentenced to 24 months in prison and disqualified from having a driver’s licence for 12.5 years over a string of charges including a police chase through the Tweed in March.
Peter James Lawler, 22, pleaded guilty to four offences in Tweed Heads Local Court yesterday, including driving a vehicle while disqualified, using an unregistered vehicle, having illegal number plates and not stopping when driving dangerously in a police pursuit.
Solicitor Andrew George of McMillan Criminal Law said his client was a “young man”, remorseful for his actions and was suffering from an oppositional personality disorder and crystal meth addiction.
The prosecution showed the court footage taken from the police chase showing Lawler driving at speeds of almost 200kmh on the Pacific Hwy at Tweed Heads at about 7.45pm on Thursday, March 3.
Police engaged in a short pursuit of his vehicle, travelling between 170kmh and 198kmh hour, but the chase was soon terminated due to the high speeds and dangerous driving of the offender.
Calls from motorists to police reported Lawler overtaking vehicles and crossing double unbroken lines on the highway, travelling south towards Piggabeen.
Officers eventually located the vehicle about 200m from his defacto’s Piggabeen home in a damaged state after several collisions, with “the engine running hot and smoke coming from the breaks”.
A police dog later found Lawler hiding in thick bushes at the rear of the property.
Magistrate Michael Dakin said the dog had “attacked” Lawler, causing “superficial” puncture marks requiring treatment at Tweed Hospital.
His family wept openly in court, saying “love you” and “see you soon”, as Lawler was sentenced to 24 months in prison, with a 13-month non-parole period until April, 2017.
Mr George later told the Tweed Daily News the sentence was a “fair outcome given the circumstances”.