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Man fined after Coastguard chase

Magistrates' Court (file photograph)

A man who led coast guard officers on a chase through the Great Sound on board a jetski was hit with $1,750 in fines yesterday (FRI).

Cavon Smith, 40, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to charges that he obstructed Coastguard crews and refused to provide a breath sample on June 21 last year.

Karen King, for the Crown, told the court that just after 6.45pm a Coastguard patrol boat attempted to stop Smith’s jetski over an alleged breach of no-wake rules.

But Smith, who had a female passenger, refused to stop led the patrol, which was joined by other boats, on a chase through the Great Sound.

The court heard Smith swerved between the Coastguard boats at high speed in an effort to evade capture.

The chase continued under Grey’s Bridge in Sandys before he was eventually stopped.

Smith and the passenger were taken on board one of the Coastguard boats.

The passenger, who was “shaken and upset”, Coastguard personnel that she had told Smith to stop.

Smith meanwhile admitted that he had been drinking before the chase and told Coastguard personnel he had “a few Coronas at Woody’s”.

He refused to take a breath test.

Charles Richardson, for Smith, said the defendant had a clean record and admitted responsibility at the first opportunity.

He added that there was some public confusion about the rules regarding the need to submit to a demand for a breath sample.

Mr Richardson said: “He didn’t realise he had an absolute obligation to give a sample.”

Senior Magistrate Juan Wolffe said: “There should be a very clear understanding. People need to know that there are laws in place.

“Some people think they want to speak to a lawyer before they say anything, but if there is a demand for a breath sample that could be considered a refusal.”

Mr Wolffe added that the public need to be aware that a refusal to provide a breath sample after a lawful demand has been made is an offence that carries a similar penalty to that of failing the test.

He fined Smith, of Sandys, $750 for obstruction of the Coastguard and a $1,000 for the breath test refusal.

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