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Drug-addicted, gun-toting, unlicensed driver who sped off from police escapes jail sentence

Unlicensed driver Jamie Nicholas had a loaded gun and drugs in his car when he fled police but escaped a jail sentence...

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Unlicensed driver Jamie Nicholas had a loaded gun and drugs in his car when he fled police but escaped a jail sentence after being given a discount because he was a drug addict. Photo / Bevan Conley

A gun-toting drug addict without a driver’s licence, who fled police at high speed, has escaped being sent to jail.

Jamie Peter Nicholas appeared before Judge Ian Carter in the Whanganui District Court on Wednesday for sentencing on a raft of charges.

The 45-year-old had previously pleaded guilty, after being given a sentencing indication, to three charges of driving while suspended and one each of failing to stop for police, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of cannabis, possession of cannabis seeds for supply, possession of a pipe to smoke methamphetamine and theft of petrol.

Nicholas had been suspended from driving by police for three months on May 9, 2021, for excess demerit points, the summary of facts stated.

He was stopped by police on May 17 and charged with driving while suspended.

About 9.27pm on June 27, 2021, police again spotted Nicholas behind the wheel speeding along Somme Parade.

Police activated their lights and siren, signalling Nicholas to stop, but he accelerated away.

A short time after the chase, Nicholas was found at a service station where he was arrested and his vehicle impounded.

Police could smell cannabis coming from the vehicle and a search warrant was obtained.

On July 15, the vehicle was searched and police discovered a loaded .38 calibre five-shot revolver under the driver’s seat, 71.12 grams of cannabis and 116 grams of cannabis seeds in a container in the boot.

A methamphetamine pipe, two sets of scales, a straw used to scoop out the drug and 45 small bags were found in the middle console.

Nicholas told police “I’m f..ked now. I’m going to jail. I didn’t think you would search it”.

He was again stopped driving on July 23 at 8.34pm and told police he was going to the pub to play pokies.

Nicholas had previously driven off from a Sanson service station without paying for petrol.

Defence lawyer Elliot Copeland said Nicholas found himself in trouble after falling back into the clutches of a methamphetamine addiction following five years clean.

Nicholas was now drug-free after spending 61 days remanded in custody and a further nine months on EM-bail waiting to be sentenced, Copeland said.

He argued Nicholas should be given a discount on his sentence because his offending happened while in the grip of a drug addiction and also be given credit for the time spent in custody and on EM-bail.

Copeland sought a sentence of home detention.

Judge Carter agreed there was persuasive evidence addiction caused the offending and he was confident Nicholas could comply with an electronically monitored sentence.

He sentenced Nicholas to a total of six months and two weeks’ home detention after taking all discounts into consideration and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.

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