A DRINK-driver who hit 178km/h on the Lincoln Causeway escaped jail yesterday when he won an appeal against a five-month stint behind bars.
Braedon Kane Williams was instead given a one month jail term suspended for one month in the County Court in Wodonga.
The appeal came more than three years after the Wodonga man, 26, was jailed in the Woonga Magistrates Court.
The delay in the appeal was simply because Williams has spent most of the intervening time in jail in NSW for aggravated break and enter and steal and armed robbery charges.
He was only released from custody last November 11, having been in jail since February 12, 2011.
Williams and a co-offender were each jailed for four years in the District Court in Albury for breaking into the IGA supermarket at Springdale Heights and a Union Road, Lavington, service station.
District Court Judge Martin Blackmore had also previously sentenced Williams on an armed robbery charge over an incident at Leeton.
Williams will be on parole for the NSW matter until February 12 next year.
Part of the NSW sentence required Williams to undergo a drug rehabilitation course, which he had since followed post-custody with an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program at Wagga.
County Court Judge Bill Stuart told Williams yesterday that this clear commitment to rehabilitation was a strong factor in his decision to not send him back to jail.
Judge Stuart said Williams was a “resilient” man who, despite an extremely difficult childhood, appeared to have made a considerable effort to put alcohol and drug abuse behind him.
He and Williams’ solicitor, Greg Duncan, both said alcohol in particular was a strong factor in years of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.
Crown prosecutor Andy Moore said Williams began his high speed driving in South Street, Wodonga, on August 7, 2010, at 2.21am.
Williams — who has never held a driver’s licence — drove through a red light at the High Street intersection, then turned left and drove at up to 100km/h towards Albury.
Police who first sighted Williams drove at a safe distance behind him to gauge his speed, which hit about 150km/h as he drove through 60km/h roadworks on the causeway.
He then accelerated hard to a top speed of 178km/h in an 80km/h zone.
Police never activated a pursuit and Williams pulled over his car as soon as he saw the officers’ flashing lights in his rear-view mirror.
A breath test later revealed Williams had a blood-alcohol reading of 0.084.
Judge Stuart convicted Williams for driving at a dangerous speed and also disqualified him from holding a licence for two years.
The disqualification was backdated to Williams’ sentencing in Wodonga Magistrate’s Court in 2010.