A magistrate has chosen not to jail the 23-year-old who killed six little penguins at Sulphur Creek in 2016.
Joshua Leigh Jeffrey appeared in the Devonport Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with a number of minor drug offences and three serious driving offences.
The drug offences were committed in 2018 and the driving crimes were committed in May 2019, the court heard.
At the time he was subject to a two-month jail term which had been suspended for 12 months by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Estcourt.
Magistrate Duncan Fairley said the driving crimes are “extremely serious”, and that he was driving under the influence of methylamphetamine and amphetamine.
Jeffrey was charged with driving unlicensed while on illicit drugs and evading police in aggravated circumstances.
He is a youthful offender, rehabilitation must be considered a priority.
Magistrate Duncan Fairley
The court heard Jeffrey accelerated away from a police vehicle at high speed and near a school, and the police pursuit was called off.
Shortly after, Jeffrey crashed through a fence and into a ditch, the magistrate said.
“This presented a very real danger to himself, police and members of the public,” Mr Fairley said.
He said it was simply a matter of good fortune that no one was injured during the pursuit and subsequent crash.
However, in the 15 months since that crash he had not committed an offence, and Magistrate Duncan Fairley said he had shown “very real signs of rehabilitation”.
Defence lawyer Donna Allen told the court footage from the police officer’s body-worn camera during Jeffrey’s arrest after the crash was “quite distressing”.
“He was in a place where he was taking actions to end his life, is the conclusion I made from watching that footage,” Ms Allen said.
Ms Allen said that in the 15 months since that incident, Jeffrey had taken significant steps to distance himself from negative influences on the North-West Coast.
She said he had moved into accommodation in Hobart, begun undertaking gainful employment for the first time in his life and was supported by the advocacy group Speak Out Tasmania.
Mr Fairley agreed that Jeffrey was making attempts to better himself.
“He is a youthful offender, rehabilitation must be considered a priority,” the magistrate said.
He deferred sentencing for nine months, to May 2021, which he said would be the two year anniversary of the driving offence.
Mr Fairley said that if Jeffrey’s rehabilitation wavered, or if he committed any further crimes in that time, he would be jailed.
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