News

Serial offender pleads guilty to 35 charges

By Riverine Herald

A SUSPENDED L-plater who drove 100km/h in a 50km/h zone and overtook on double lines to evade police has been handed a $2000 fine, two-year community corrections order and had her licence cancelled for three years.

Paige Krystal Perkins, 23, from Echuca appeared 36-weeks pregnant in Echuca Magistrates Court on Wednesday, September 26, pleading guilty to 35 charges including unlicenced driving and failing to stop for police.

The court heard Ms Perkins was also caught driving several times with meth in her system — at one time with a child in the car.

Police prosecutor Sergeant David Somerton read out the list of charges which stretched from June 15, 2015 to April 12, 2016.

‘‘On February 29, 2016 the accused was observed driving on Murray Valley Highway in Echuca. The car displayed no L-plates and the driver was the sole occupant. When police turned on lights and sirens the driver refused to stop,’’ he said.

‘‘As police chased the vehicle it rapidly increased speed, clocking 150km/h in a 100 zone before overtaking another vehicle. Police stopped and deactivated lights for safety.

‘‘On March 1, 2016 police talked to the accused in Moama and she conceded the vehicle was hers but claimed she wasn’t driving on February 29.

‘‘On April 12, 2016 the same commodore was seen again driving erratically on the Northern Highway in Heathcote,’’ Sgt Somerton said.

‘‘When police turned on lights and sirens, the car increased speed to 100km/h in a 50km/h zone and overtook on double lines.

‘‘When later interviewed about that incident, the accused said she wasn’t driving at that time. When asked who was driving, she couldn’t provide details.’’

Ms Perkins’ lawyer Kate Freshwater said the string of offences had only occurred during a 10-month period while her client was abusing drugs.

‘‘Ms Perkins is currently expecting her fourth child. She also has a four-year-old and 18-month-old twins in out of home care,’’ Ms Freshwater said.

‘‘The father of her four-year-old was killed in an accident in 2015 and that led to her drug use and subsequent offending. But having her twin boys was the wake-up call that stopped her offending.

‘‘While there have been some failures to appear in court, there’s been an absence of substantive offending since 2016.’’

Magistrate Tim Bourke said he’d allow Ms Perkins to give birth before ordering her to complete any community work.

‘‘I’m placing you on a two-year order for 250 hours community work. If you complete rehab programs, that will shave time off your community work,’’ he said.

‘‘And I’m going to cancel your licence for three years effective today.

‘‘You are a road risk and have been selfish in the way you’ve behaved. If police tell you to stop, stop. Or you risk yourself, the police and others on the road.’’