The learner driver was unaccompanied at the time of the pursuit in May.
The learner driver was unaccompanied at the time of the pursuit in May. John Weekes

L-plater led police on 45km high-speed pursuit

A LEARNER driver who led police on a 45km high-speed pursuit has been jailed.

Jamie Leigh Schofield, 30, faced Lismore Local Court for sentencing on Tuesday.

At the time of the offence, Schofield was on conditional release orders imposed by Ballina Local Court last December.

His lawyer, Tenika Vakauta told the court they understood the pursuit was "aggravated by virtue of his excessive speed".

Ms Vakauta said her client understood he'd put himself, police and others at risk through his actions.

She said Schofield had earlier told her: "the danger that I placed everyone else in was far too great".

Schofield had remained in custody since May 17, when he failed to stop for police on Uralba St in Lismore.

He then led police on a 20-minute high-speed chase through surrounding suburbs.

Over the incident, he'd pleaded guilty to engaging in a police pursuit, being an unaccompanied learner driver, drug possession and having goods in custody suspected of being stolen.

Also before court on Tuesday, he was being sentenced over drug-driving incidents from April 9 and April 25.

Ms Vakauta told the court her client's time in custody had been a "sobering experience for him".

She said Schofield, who had helped in the 2017 flood cleanup in Lismore, had been seeking help for his drug issues.

But coupled with mental ill health, the court heard this had proved difficult.

"He tells me that he's been dependant on drugs for much of his life," she said.

She conceded the pursuit warranted a term of imprisonment, but asked Magistrate Karen Stafford to consider allowing him to serve this in the community by way of an intensive corrections order.

She said a sentencing assessment report has seen Schofield demonstrate insight into his offending.

"He's expressed motivation to take part in intervention," she said.

"He wants to be able to retain his abstinence and be a role model (to his children)."

Ms Stafford did not, however, agree with the argument an ICO was appropriate.

"Significant in this matter is the need for the court to punish you and denounce your conduct and prevent crime," she said.

She sentenced Schofield to 18 months prison, with a non-parole period ending on March 16 next year.

He was disqualified from driving for two years and fined $1000.