Ute driver uses Victorian cops tragedy as excuse for crime

A motorist who failed to stop immediately after being directed to by police on the Bruce Highway claimed he feared for police safety after the Melbourne police killings and couldn’t find a safe spot to stop.

Paul Bernard Martin, 49, pleaded guilty on March 16 in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to one count of failing to stop at the first reasonable instance after being directed by police.

Police prosecutor Clancy Fox said police were carrying out speed enforcement on the Bruce Highway on May 4 at East End, south of Mount Larcom, when they came across Martin driving a black Ford ute in a northerly direction.

He said police conducted a U-turn and indicated for Martin to pull over, however Martin continued driving at the speed limit and only stopped for a second police crew later.

Mr Fox said Martin told the second officer he couldn’t identify a safe place to stop for the safety of police, which he had become concerned about after the four officers were killed in Melbourne after pulling over a speeding Porsche.

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Defence lawyer Lachlan Robertson said his client, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), was unemployed.

Magistrate Cameron Press put Martin on an 18-month probation order and disqualified him from driving for the mandatory minimum of two years.