A Wollongong District Court judge has slammed a decision to allow a heavily drug-addicted woman facing serious robbery allegations to be released on bail, only for her to lead police on two dangerous pursuits through the region's streets.
Judge Paul Conlon yesterday criticised the local court for granting Sarah Jayne Thompson bail on two separate occasions, despite evidence the Albion Park mother had a crippling ice addiction.
Just two months after Thompson was first granted bail, pending allegations she helped detain and steal from a man, the 25-year-old committed another offence, taking police on a dangerous pursuit through Gerringong and Kiama.
She was arrested and in what Judge Conlon described as an "extraordinary move", was again granted bail.
It took just weeks for her to get back behind the wheel, this time leading police on a chase through Albion Park, which only came to an end when she struck a street sign, the court heard.
Sentencing Thompson to a minimum 12 months' jail, Judge Conlon said the potential for a fatality was extremely high.
Thompson, who pleaded guilty to both pursuits and one charge of using an offensive weapon to avoid apprehension, was first spotted behind the wheel on January 4 as she travelled south along the Princes Highway near Gerringong, the court was told.
Police signalled for the woman to stop but she refused, instead increasing her speed and a dangerous pursuit began.
Thompson reached speeds of up to 170km/h and repeatedly crossed onto the wrong side of the road, narrowly avoiding oncoming traffic.
Police later saw the vehicle and tried to catch it as it turned into Terralong Street in Kiama, crossing onto the wrong side of the road and mounting a kerb, forcing a mother and her two sons to jump out of the way, the court heard.
Thompson was later arrested and granted bail over the incident.
Less than three weeks later, Thompson led police on another pursuit through Albion Park, travelling more than double the signposted speed limit, crossing onto the wrong side of the road and hitting a street sign, the court heard.
Defence solicitor Graeme Morrison told the court Thompson, who was found guilty of the unrelated robbery offence and sentenced to jail, had reverted back to ice prior to the offences but was now keen to stay off drugs.
Mr Morrison said his client was serving her first time in custody but had used the time to work and undertake courses.
The court heard Thompson had good prospects of rehabilitation.