28 January 2022

Shooter Christopher Cunningham disqualified from driving for over a decade

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts Photo: Michelle Kroll Region Media

Christopher Cunningham, 35, has been sentenced over driving offences. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

While Christopher John Alwyn Cunningham was already in jail after a 2019 shooting, he has now been handed extra time behind bars for driving offences and told to stay off the road for more than a decade.

Late last year, the now 35-year-old was sentenced to several years’ jail with a non-parole period that was to end in June 2023 for shooting a man on a suburban street.

On Thursday (27 January), the ACT Magistrates Court disqualified him from driving for just over 11 years and jailed him for about an extra nine months over driving-related charges.

His non-parole period was also changed and will now end in August 2023, but he did not appear too interested about the prospect of being released.

“I won’t apply for parole your honour,” he told Magistrate Robert Cook after his new sentence had been announced.

Earlier, Cunningham said he disagreed with some of the facts in one of the charges against him, but when told that would mean his sentencing would be delayed he changed his mind and said he wouldn’t dispute them.

“I want this over and done with your honour,” he said.

His lawyer, Tich Pasi of Prudential Legal Solutions, said Cunningham had become a new father last year and hadn’t had the opportunity to hold his daughter “as most fathers normally do when their children are born”.

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He said the birth of his daughter had been an “eye-opener” for Cunningham and he had realised that being in custody disadvantaged his children because it meant he was an absent father.

“He is making efforts to turn a corner,” Mr Pasi said.

Cunningham pleaded guilty to charges of furious driving, failing to stop for police and driving while disqualified which were committed over 2020 to 2021, but there were a couple of stand-out incidents.

Court documents say in October 2021, Cunningham sped past and cut-off another driver on Sulwood Drive in Wanniassa who responded by beeping his horn.

Cunningham stopped in the middle of the road forcing the driver to stop behind him, approached his car and they argued until Cunningham opened the man’s door, grabbed his keys and threw them down an embankment before leaving.

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The driver recorded what happened on his dashcam and the footage showed Cunningham wearing a Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang jumper.

Also, in November 2021, police tried to pull Cunningham over when he was driving on London Circuit in Civic, but he sped away and drove on the wrong side of the road as well as through a red light.

Magistrate Cook said Cunningham had posed a risk to himself, the police and the community when driving in the way he had in November 2021 and there was little to demonstrate his rehabilitation.

“All there is is just repeat offending and it goes on continuously,” he said.

Cunningham had also expressed a lack of remorse and said he felt targeted by police, Magistrate Cook said.

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