Suspended driver 'hid for a reason'

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 12:44 26/03/2013

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Not long after being assaulted, a young motorist felt intimidated when a car full of people "of the same ethnic group" as those who had assaulted him pulled up next to him and wound down the window.

Palmerston North chef Zian Shao, 20, was on his way to basketball on the evening of January 10, when he stopped at the intersection of Main and Ruahine streets.

As the lights changed, he revved up, passed the other car and, with a police car on his tail, turned down a side street. He then parked down a driveway in an attempt to hide, the Palmerston North District Court was told yesterday.

Shao was driving while his licence was suspended but told police he thought he was OK because he still had his Chinese driver's licence.

"[Shao] denied that he was racing and stated he was trying to pass a car that was full of people he did not like," police prosecutor Sergeant Mike Toon said.

Defence lawyer Tony Thackery said Shao thought the people in the car next to him were making threats. It was them he was trying to hide from, not police.

"He had been recently assaulted by some people in Wellington from the same ethnic group."

Judge Gregory Ross accepted that Shao was scared of the people in the other car but said he should have asked about his licence if he was unsure, rather than "sheltering behind [his] ignorance".

"In this country when one's licence has been suspended, you're not allowed to drive."

Shao admitted one charge each of dangerous driving and driving while suspended and was fined $500 and disqualified from driving for nine months.

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- Manawatu Standard

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