Dylan James Bennett loves to ignore court orders, driving prohibitions in particular. When the police see him breaking those orders and driving, he tries to avoid arrest by fleeing at extremely high rates of speed.
By doing so, Judge Wayne Gorman said the Corner Brook man puts the safety of the police and the public in danger.
To protect the public and police from Bennett, Gorman sentenced the 25-year-old to 12 months in jail during an appearance in Corner Brook provincial court on Sept. 5.
Bennett had pleaded guilty to driving while prohibited, evading the police, breach of undertaking, possession of stolen goods, theft, operating a motor vehicle without insurance and speeding.
With a credit of 153 days for the time he’s been in custody, that sentence was reduced to 212 days. He was also given a two-year driving prohibition.
In his written decision Gorman said the offences extended over a period of seven months from October 2018 to May 2019.
They started with the possession of stolen property in October 2018. Bennett had possession of a clothes dryer which had been stolen during a residential break-in. He had given the dryer to another person as a gift.
On Nov. 16, 2018 he drove a motor vehicle to the North Atlantic Gas Station in Steady Brook and put $28.05 in gas in the vehicle’s tank but did not pay for it. At the time, he was prohibited from driving. His licence had been suspended in 2015 and on March 6, 2018 an 18-month driving prohibition was imposed after he was convicted of drinking and driving.
Two days later, on Nov. 18, 2018 a police office observed Bennett driving a motor vehicle on the highway at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour in a 100-km zone. There was a passenger in the vehicle with him.
Police engaged their emergency equipment and pursued Bennett, who sped up to 140 kilometres per hour.
After pursuing him for about five kilometres Bennett drove onto a snow-covered and narrow logging road.
The police followed him and while attempting to evade arrest Bennett backed into a police vehicle. He was eventually arrested and released from custody with the requirement he report to the police on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Bennett appeared in court on Dec. 4, 2018 and his matters were set over to Dec. 11, 2018. He failed to appear on that day.
He also failed to report to the police from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7, 2018.
Bennett was arrested and released on an undertaking that required him to appear in court on May 21, 2019 and that he not operate a motor vehicle.
On May 21, Bennett drove to courthouse for that appearance in a vehicle he was not insured to drive. It had been left by a customer for repairs to be completed at his place of employment.
After the appearance, Bennett was observed by police driving at 130 kilometres per hour in a 100-kilometre zone.
While being pursued by police he sped up to 174 kilometres per hour. The pursuit was stopped for public safety reasons.
Bennett turned himself in the next day and has been in custody since then.
Gorman noted that Bennett has an extensive criminal record and one for breaching various provisions of the Highway Traffic Act.
His criminal convictions span a period from 2008 to 2018 and include convictions for the offences of operating a motor vehicle while impaired, four counts of theft, uttering a threat, possession of stolen property, forgery, damage to property, unlawful entry into a dwelling, two counts of failing to comply with release conditions and assault.
His Highway Traffic Act convictions include two counts of operating a motor vehicle without insurance, operating a motor vehicle with an altered licence plate, operating a motor vehicle with tinted windows and operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s licence.
In addition to the jail sentence, Bennett was fined $500 for the speeding charge.
Considering Bennett’s refusal to comply with court orders and his poor history of supervision by adult corrections, Gorman opted not to impose a period of probation.