Tears in Wodonga court as hoon faces prison over 200km/h driving on freeway

Alvi Pua was armed with a machete and knuckle-dusters when he drove at 200km/h north up the Hume Freeway with two women and his three-year-old daughter in a stolen car last month.

He has now pleaded guilty to the offences and faces more time in jail.

Solicitor Mario Vaccaro told Wodonga Magistrates’ Court on Thursday his client had become scared by police attention during a pursuit, but magistrate Ian Watkins pointed out the high speed was first spotted by a member of the public – before police had become involved.

Pua, 24, was driving a stolen Suburu, with manufactured number plates, from Melbourne to Sydney on November 16.

The three-year old was not properly restrained in a child seat.

It was estimated Pua was travelling at 200km/h at Benalla, then later sped away from Wangaratta police at 185km/h when they tried to stop him.

He eventually pulled over at 7.45am when he crossed the border into NSW, where Albury police found a 60-centimetre machete and knuckle-dusters in the car.

The Deer Park man, who was originally from Samoa and is a permanent resident of Australia, pleaded guilty to charges including reckless conduct endangering life, evading police, being a learner driver without an instructor, possessing prohibited weapons and fraudulently altering number plates.

He also admitting assaulting his girlfriend – one of the women who had been in the car – by punching and kicking her on December 1.

“He suffers severe depression and anxiety and he said that was the reason he was driving away from the police, he just panicked … He knew police wanted him to stop, but he was scared,” Mr Vaccaro said.

“He’s been trying to get his life back on track so he can have a good family life.”

Pua was crying while sitting in the dock at court, listening to Mr Vaccaro talk about his family.

Mr Watkins said Pua was “looking at jail time”, but would likely combine the sentence with a community corrections order.

The case was adjourned until December 13.