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Taupo & Turangi Weekender - 2021-10-14

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Judge holds back decision on speeding biker’s licence

NEWS

— Gisborne Herald

Amotorcyclist clocked speeding at 240km/h on the Napier-Taupo¯ Rd refused to stop for police and initially denied being the offender, a court has been told. Taupo¯ police abandoned chasing the motorcyclist after his speed was recorded at 240km/h on the Napier-Taupo¯ Rd, 700m from the intersection with the East Taupo¯ Arterial. Motorcyclist Lance John Doole, 40, from Gisborne, was stopped at Tarawera where he was spoken to by Napier police. Last week Doole again denied being the offender, midway through his sentencing in the Gisborne District Court on October 1 for the dangerous driving charge that arose out of the incident on January 26. His lawyer, Lucy Rishworth, had just finished giving her submissions as to why Doole should be spared a mandatory sixmonth disqualification from driving. Speaking from the dock, Doole told Judge Turitea Bolstad he only pleaded guilty to the charge to get it transferred away from the Taupo¯ District Court so the case would be heard in the Gisborne District Court. “I 100 per cent stand by it was not me on that day and if they [police] can prove it then there’s something wrong, ’cos it was not me,” Doole said. Rishworth asked for time to confer with Doole, after which she told the court he wanted to proceed with the sentencing and his application. According to an agreed summary of facts, Doole — a fully licensed motorcyclist — was riding his black 2009 Yamaha YZF R1Y sport-styled racing bike. Its last warrant of fitness expired in January 2018, and its registration is on hold due to a licence exemption in place until this month. He was riding east on the Napier-Taupo¯ Rd (State Highway 5) about 3.30pm when spotted by an officer in a stationary patrol vehicle about 700m from the intersection with the East Taupo¯ arterial bypass roundabout. The officer clocked Doole’s speed at 240km/h then gave chase, reaching speeds of up to 210km/h before abandoning the pursuit for safety reasons. During it, Doole drifted into an opposite lane, drove dangerously up a long set of hills, and crossed over double-yellow centrelines into oncoming traffic. A second officer ahead of him was alerted and took down his registration number when he sped past. Napier police were informed and spoke to Doole when he stopped at Tarawera. Doole denied seeing any police or speeding. Rishworth said it was accepted there were public safety issues at stake but those concerns could be allayed. Doole had no history of dangerous driving. There had been no further issue with his driving in the 10 months since this incident. There was no pattern to his behaviour that the public needed protection from. He got demerit points in June last year, but any before that were 17 years ago. Medical evidence showed he was suffering the ongoing effects of a head injury but he was fully engaged with appropriate professionals and working with them to manage it. He and a teenager in his care live rurally with no other transport options. Doole recently got a job driving roading and forestry vehicles and would lose it if disqualified. He had no evidence from his employer to support that claim — he did not want his employer to know about this matter, Rishworth said. Judge Bolstad told Doole she understood his predicament of living rurally and needing a driver’s licence but she was struggling to decide the application due to the public safety factor. Asked about the bike, Doole said it was in storage in Hawke’s Bay. He said that on the day of the alleged offence, he was taking his bike to be stored in Hawke’s Bay prior to it being sold. He said it was impounded after the incident and it took him several months to pay off a $1000 fee to get it back. Judge Bolstad said she was concerned Doole could still access the bike. If she had to decide that day, she would not grant the application. However, she might reconsider it if he could provide confirmation of the bike’s sale and of his employment. The judge adjourned the case until November 7. She told Doole that if she granted the application, it might include a condition forbidding him to own a bike for a while.

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