A serial disqualified driver has had a 2½-year prison sentence cut to 12 months after a Wollongong judge ruled the man's initial punishment was too severe.
Jamie Keith Donnan, 43, was originally sentenced in Wollongong Local Court in August to two 15-month prison terms, to be served consecutively, following a guilty plea to being involved in a police pursuit and driving while disqualified in July this year.
In handing down the hefty terms, the presiding magistrate at the time described Donnan's behaviour as "a disgrace", citing his terrible traffic record, which included a jail sentence for a 2001 conviction for driving under the influence occasioning death.
Donnan appealed the August sentence in Wollongong District Court last week, seeking a reduction in his overall prison term.
Judge Paul Conlon agreed Donnan had been given too severe a punishment, saying the police fact sheet did not detail a lengthy or high-speed police pursuit.
He said the evidence before the court showed Donnan was travelling either at or below the speed limit most of the time.
"How did police not catch him?" Judge Conlon asked rhetorically.
"He was tottering along at 40, 50, 60 kilometres an hour. What were the police on, scooters?"
Judge Conlon accepted a submission from Donnan's lawyer, Elizabeth Parkes, that her client simply "panicked" when he saw police, and not pulled over when they indicated for him to do so.
"On examination of the facts, it was a rather cautious escape," Judge Conlon said, acknowledging that Donnan's manner of driving was far different to that of most pursuits that end up before the courts.
He ordered Donnan to serve a minimum 12 months, with a maximum term of 16 months.
With time already served, Donnan will be released from prison on July 23 next year.