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Driver who struck police officer with car door shown mercy

A man accused of hitting a police officer with his car door and who avoided facing trial for three years admitted the offence yesterday.

Devon Burrows, 39, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to an assault on police officer Nathan Lawrence.

But senior magistrate Juan Wolffe gave Burrows a three-month conditional discharge after he said he was the sole supporter of his three children.

Mr Wolffe said: “I don’t want to hinder you in any way that would affect your children.

“That’s not to diminish the seriousness of this case – but I think that a conviction would be problematic.”

The court heard that Burrows also had a total of $2,750 in unpaid fines that dated back to 2014 and he was ordered to pay the total amount by the end of the day.

Police were stationed at South Shore Road in Warwick in the early hours of June 17, 2018 when they saw Burrows drive past in a car.

Officers pulled him over to check his licence and asked him to turn off his engine, but Burrows sped off.

Pc Lawrence, who was in front of the car, jumped out of the way to avoid being hit – but the open passenger door struck him in his leg as Burrows drove away.

Officers chased the car to Riviera Road in Southampton and arrested Burrows.

Burrows, from Southampton, pleaded not guilty to the assault when he appeared in court in 2018.

A trial date had been set for later that year, but Burrows did not appear until yesterday.

He told the court that he did not know his car door had struck the officer and admitted that he was “tired of running away”.

Burrows added that he did not have any previous criminal convictions and was the sole caretaker of three young children, the oldest of whom was nine.

He said: “I didn’t know what to do and I was just trying to get home to my kids.”

Mr Wolffe at first fined Burrows $500, but withdrew the monetary penalty and gave him a conditional discharge instead.

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