Balaclava wearing ice addict triggered ‘irrational’ chase

ICE addiction caused an Ipswich man to lose 20kg before he was jailed over a police pursuit, a court has heard.

The offender’s spiral into drug addiction was in-part blamed on not being able to see his children, Ipswich Magistrates Court has heard.

When police drove up beside Ben Pappin’s Kia Rio, they noticed the learner driver was wearing a balaclava.

He refused to pull over, sparking a pursuit.

Appearing from jail via video-link, Benjamen John Pappin, 29, from Bundamba, pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle when affected by an intoxicating substance on January 19; evading police; failing to provide a breath specimen for analysis; two counts of obstructing police; driving unlicensed; and stealing $60.40 worth of petrol on January 18.

Pappin was back in jail serving part of a sentence that finishes in November, 2022.

Prosecutor Sergeant Rose Molinaro said Pappin’s criminal history included three offences for driving stolen cars, and one of failing to stop for police.

There was also a charge of attempted dangerous operation of a motor vehicle; and a sentence for robbery with violence.

Sgt Molinaro said Pappin’s evasion of police offence began at Slacks Creek about 1.30am when police saw a Kia Rio leave a service station.

It was driven onto the M1 at 100km/h in an 80 speed zone.

Sgt Molinaro said police officers saw the driver was wearing a balaclava.

“When officers shone a torch at him he took off the balaclava. Lights and sirens were switched on but he failed to stop,” Sgt Molinaro said.

“He swerved left around another motor vehicle and took off at speed.”

Pappin was next spotted at Ipswich at 4.40am driving the same vehicle at Booval.

He again evaded police.

Sgt Molinaro said he was driving erratically and through backstreets in his attempts to avoid police.

The Kia was driven onto the wrong side of a roundabout at Tivoli and on the wrong side of Mt Crosby Road, forcing other motorists to take evasive action.

Pappin ended up on the Warrego Highway and stingers were used to bring the car to a stop in the middle of the highway.

The driver was considered to be under the influence of a substance at the time, due to his irrational behaviour.

A bag Pappin wore held used syringes, the court was told.

Defence barrister Terry Strong said Pappin had been staying in a boarding house following his release from jail seven months earlier.

He had not been using drugs but a trigger occurred when after saving his money and spending $1500 to buy Christmas presents for his children, Pappin was prevented from seeing them.

“It was personally devastating to him. He says he fell into a spiral of depression and began using ice,” Mr Strong said.

“He lost over 20kg in weight and became very addicted to the drug.”

Mr Strong said Pappin was not driving a stolen car or fleeing from a crime when he drove away from police.

“Sadly he has a general distrust of police and unfortunately reacts in certain ways,” he said.

“Had he simply co-operated the offences would be far less serious.”

Mr Strong said Pappin was becoming concerned he would become institutionalised and wanted to deal with his ice problem.

Magistrate Kurt Fowler said Pappin had driven erratically and at speed, driving though backstreets and through stop signs.

He took into account Pappin’s existing sentence.

Pappin was sentenced to a jail term of 15 months, and to lesser concurrent jail terms.

He received three disqualifications from driving, for two years, eight months, and four months.

Pappin will be eligible to begin making a parole application from November 8 this year.