A man who rammed two police cars spent most of his court sentencing appearance ducking to avoid being photographed by media.
In the Tauranga District Court yesterday, Judge Paul Mabey sentenced Aucklander Cameron Bryan Smith, 30, to three years in prison on a raft of charges.
Smith appeared in court via audio-visual link from Waikeria Prison.
At the beginning of the hearing, the judge granted a request from the Bay of Plenty Times to take a photograph of Smith on the screen.
As the photographer took his place Smith ducked out of view of the video recorder.
"I can't force you to be on screen Mr Smith," Judge Mabey said.
"[However] this is a public courtroom and just as the media can write about you, they can photograph you."
Smith remained ducked down.
"I'm going to sentence you now - are you going to remain out of sight while this goes on?" Judge Mabey asked.
"If I may," Smith said.
He remained out of camera view for the rest of the 90-minute hearing.
Smith was sentenced on nine charges relating to two separate incidents.
Judge Mabey said the most serious charges - four counts of assault with a weapon - related to a January 9 incident in the Tauranga CBD.
Smith rammed his boss' Toyota Land Cruiser - taken earlier that morning without permission - into two marked police cars, injuring two police officers.
Shortly after 6am on 2nd Ave, Smith accelerated his large vehicle into the back of the stationary police car. Both officers inside suffered head and neck injuries, and the police car was a write-off, Judge Mabey said.
Smith chased another police car on Devonport Rd but the driver managed to avoid being rammed.
When a third police car arrived Smith crashed into it head on - his larger vehicle mounting the bonnet of the smaller car. The two police officers inside were uninjured.
Smith then lost control and crashed into a delivery truck parked across the road.
"Your targets were trapped in a steel cage in the form of a police car," Judge Mabey said.
"You converted that vehicle into a lethal weapon."
In all, Smith did more than $30,000 of damage to the police cars, according to reparation figures sought by insurers.
Judge Mabey declined to order the reparation to the insurers as Smith was already in more than $30,000 of personal debt and was unlikely to be able to pay.
The judge did order reparation of $500 for damage to the Land Cruiser and $2500 for excess on the delivery vehicle.
Three years jail
Cameron Bryan Smith, 30, was sentenced to prison on the following charges:
May 27, 2017
- Assault with a weapon
January 8, 2018
- Threatening to kill
January 9, 2018
- Unlawfully taking a vehicle
- Refusing to give blood
- Failing to stop for police
- 4x Assault with a weapon