A Bega man will spend eight months behind bars after admitting to ramming a police car near Tathra last month.
In Bega Local Court on September 15, Magistrate Doug Dick sentenced Rodney Allan Sargent, 29, to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to six charges, including using an offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention.
Sargent broke down in tears as he read a letter to the court apologising to the police officers injured during the ramming and accepting responsibility for his offending.
Sargent's lawyer, Adam Linehan, said his client, who has a lengthy criminal record in Western Australia and Queensland, had been attempting to keep out of trouble over the "past few years", and had lived a mostly itinerant lifestyle after leaving school at a young age.
"He can't comprehend why he did what he did. He should've pulled over straight away," Mr Linehan told the court.
"He has lost everything."
Court documents reveal the forestry contractor had been living in a broken down car with his then girlfriend behind a Bega St mechanic.
On the night of August 18 police saw two vehicles leaving the mechanic, and began to follow from a distance a Mitsubishi Pajero, later found to be owned by Sargent's 58-year-old father Allan James Sargent.
Sargent stopped the Pajero near the road towards White Rock outside Tathra when police saw the car had no rear number plate and activated their lights to pull him over.
He then reversed into the front of the parked police car, damaging it so much it was inoperable, before driving off at high speed towards Tathra. Other responding police vehicles were later unable to locate Sargent, who was arrested in Bega the next day and the Pajero found in bushland at Mogareeka.
At the time of his arrest Sargent denied any involvement in the ramming, telling police he had been in Batemans Bay, and his father told police a man known as "Steve" had been driving his car on the night of the ramming.
However, Sargent's account differed from that of his father, and Sargent's girlfriend admitted to being in the car at the time of the offences.
Sargent's father, who suffers from chronic emphysema told the court it was unlikely he would see his son again as he was fined $2000 after admitting to being an accessory after the fact and hindering the investigation of an indictable offence.
Magistrate Dick told the court he had panicked at the thought of his son going to jail, and had made a "clumsy" attempt at covering for him.
"I understand you had some split loyalties. You made the decision and it was the wrong decision," Magistrate Dick said.
Magistrate Dick suspended Sargent's licence for three years from his release in April next year for driving while disqualified and driving dangerously, and fined him a total of $1500 for driving an unregistered and uninsured car and aggravated littering.
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