Pulled-over driver sped off as police officer tried to remove keys

A policeman was dragged about 15 metres alongside a car that sped off from a checkpoint.

The disqualified driver at the wheel that day in May, 18-year-old Shannon Joseph Henry, went on to lead police on a chase around Hamilton.

Henry appeared before Judge Denise Clark in the Hamilton District Court on Monday having pleaded guilty to 13 charges, mostly for driving offences.

He was sentenced to eight months in jail, and is not allowed to drive for two years and three months, starting mid-January.

His most serious charges related to May 26, when he dragged a police officer with him as he sped away from a police checkpoint in Hamilton.

Officers worked out Henry had given false details, so he decided to take off.

"One of the officers dealing with you had his hand through the car window to try to remove the keys," Clark said.

"He was running alongside the car and [he was] dragged for 15 to 20 metres."

Police pursued Henry, who drove recklessly, speeding in busy residential areas.

The driving was enough to prompt more calls to police, but the pursuit had to be abandoned.

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When police caught up with Henry, he said he'd done it because he didn't want his car impounded.

"That series of events are the most serious... before the court today, but it didn't end there," Clark said.

There were also driving charges from April 8, and from July 25 - which included a petrol station drive-off.

The dangerous driving on May 26 was the incident with the most potential for public harm, defence counsel Glen Prentice said.

While a police officer was injured when Henry drove off, the injuries were understood to be bruising and the incident had been short, he said.

He understood the officer had been running alongside the car as it gathered speed, and fell when Henry accelerated.

Henry had already spent three months in custody, on remand, Prentice said, and he knew he would face a longer sentence if he returned to court on similar offences.

Henry was young and essentially a first-time offender, Clark said, and he accepted that a prison sentence would be appropriate.

His driving behaviour showed a lack of maturity, she said, and she imposed conditions to apply following his release from prison.

"You made really, really poor decisions."

Driving off when the police officer had his arm through the window "had the potential to be a lot more serious than it was".

Clark took a starting point of 12 months for the prison sentence but reduced it to eight months given Henry's youth and guilty pleas.

When it came to disqualification from driving, she followed the police recommendation of a starting point of two years and a three-month uplift.

The charges Henry was sentenced on were: two counts of failing to stop for police, four of driving while disqualified, two of giving false details, reckless driving, driving dangerously causing injury, driving in a dangerous manner, theft, and breaching community work.

 - Stuff

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