14 April 2021

Thief in three-wheeled car leads police on 180 km/h chase

| Albert McKnight
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ACT Law Courts

Jake Blackburn was handed a suspended sentence of three years and six months. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A kitchenhand’s crime spree began by punching a 16-year-old in the face and ended after he crashed a stolen car after reaching speeds of 180 km/h – even though the car only had three wheels.

In Acting Justice Richard Refshauge’s recently released ACT Supreme Court judgment, he said Canberra’s Jake Blackburn had pleaded guilty to a long list of “serious and disturbing charges” against him.

The facts of the case show the spree began on 18 March 2020 when Blackburn approached a 16-year-old student who was talking with some friends at Lake Tuggeranong College and punched him in the nose.

He then pushed the student down onto the road and repeatedly punched him in the head, pushing a girl away when she tried to intervene.

READ ALSO P-plater charged with culpable driving following fatal collision

Next, at about 2:00 am on 29 March, the balaclava-wearing Blackburn broke into a unit in Belconnen by smashing a glass door then held an axe to the head of the unit’s owner for about 30 seconds while demanding cannabis.

He and a co-offender took their victim’s wallet and demanded the PIN to his EFTPOS card, took his car and drove to a bank, but could not withdraw cash.

The next day the victim found his car in Kambah. When he was leaving his home that afternoon, Blackburn and his co-offender got into his car and offered to buy him beer, which they did before driving away in the car again.

On 3 April, police spotted the car in Melbourne, but Blackburn drove off erratically when they attempted to intercept it.

Later that day, when the car failed to stop for police in Yass, they deployed tyre deflation devices, which blew out the right-hand rear tyre but it did not stop the car and it continued into the ACT.

ACT Police saw the car near Hall. By then it had no right-hand back tyre. It was being driven at about 140 km/h with sparks coming from its rear as it was on its axle.

Blackburn did not stop for police and reached speeds of up to 178 km/h in an attempt to escape them.

READ ALSO ‘Reprehensible’: hospital slammed after discharging homeless, mentally ill patient three times

But at the intersection of Ginninderra and Gundaroo Drives in Belconnen his car drove through a red light and crashed into a taxi passenger van so hard the van flipped on its side before colliding with another vehicle.

Blackburn was arrested at the scene of the crash, which Acting Justice Refshauge described as “terrifying”.

“It is amazing that no one was killed in the collision,” he said.

When a police officer asked Blackburn if he had recently been overseas, he said he had just returned from Wuhan and coughed in the officer’s direction, continuing to cough until police put a mask over his face.

Blackburn pleaded guilty to an extensive list of charges including assault, burglary, taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, failing to stop for police when directed and dangerous driving.

He spent 166 days in jail before being sentenced when he was 21 years old.

Acting Justice Refshauge noted Blackburn’s troubled upbringing, including stints of homelessness.

He said Blackburn had reported auditory hallucinations and heavy substance misuse, as well as vague paranoia, and was diagnosed with depression, cannabis-use disorder, ADHD and post-traumatic stress disorder.

READ ALSO Child sex offender who hid cameras to spy on people in bathrooms jailed

He stressed the need for rehabilitation with such a young offender, saying a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Order would be appropriate because Blackburn was “dependent on illicit drugs and alcohol”, which “substantially” contributed to his offending.

“Mr Blackburn has accepted responsibility for the offences he has committed and expressed disappointment at his actions,” he said.

Acting Justice Refshauge sentenced him to three years and six months’ jail, suspended for the 12-month treatment order followed by a two-year good behaviour period.

“Getting out of drug addiction is not easy and getting back into a life of normality, or what we regard as normality in the community when you have had the kind of background and difficulty in growing up that you have had, is not easy,” he told Blackburn.

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What’s the bet this low-life criminal will be back within 12 months with another long list of offences and, worse, victims.

Capital Retro8:14 am 15 Apr 21

Another non-custodial sentence for a serious serial offender.

I don’t know why the police even bother to arrest these people.

We do seem to have cases where you would reckon some detention would be inevitable. .

This case reminds me of the court outcome back in 11 Feb.
A ‘P’ plater over the alcohol limit was doing over 170KM in a 80 zone when he smashed into a Hyundai. The impact was such its engine was dislodged and found 57 metres from the area of impact.

The Hyundai driver was left with broken bones in both arms, as well as fractures of the spine ( ie broken back ), fractures of left leg, pelvis and sternum. The driver also suffered a bruised lung, and has required multiple bouts of surgery since.

You might think surely this would be a detention outcome.
But nope. Courts reckon otherwise.

As Capital Retro says ”I don’t know why the police even bother to arrest these people””

I’m sure Inca Serrated will have some nice things to say about this unfortunate soul.

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