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Magistrate reduces sentence for man who drove 140kph through residential streets to avoid police

The magistrate reduced her own sentence from one year and two months imprisonment to 10 months.  (ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

A magistrate has reconsidered and reduced her sentence for a Mount Gambier man who drove more than 90kph over the speed limit while escaping police.

Giacobbe Tzioutziouklaris, 26, was originally sentenced to one year and two months in prison with a non-parole period of four months.

But Tzioutziouklaris protested the sentence while appearing in the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court via video link from custody on Tuesday.

He argued that offenders were rarely granted parole when they first apply, and that he would end up serving the whole sentence in prison.

His comments prompted Magistrate Koula Kossiavelos to adjourn the court to reconsider her verdict.

Upon returning, Magistrate Kossiavelos sentenced Tzioutziouklaris to 10 months in prison, to be suspended after four months upon him entering into a bond for two years.

Prosecution: 'no contrition'

The police prosecution said a POLAIR helicopter first spotted Tzioutziouklaris's car travelling at 119kph in a 50kph zone on January 15 about 10:30pm.

The POLAIR crew notified local police who started to pursue the car.

The court heard Tzioutziouklaris led police on a chase through Mount Gambier's residential streets for about half an hour. 

The court heard there were times Tzioutziouklaris drove at speeds of up to 140kph. 

The prosecution said Tzioutziouklaris was under the influence of methamphetamine when he drove more than 100km/hr over the speed limit to escape police. (ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

Prosecution said police attempted to use tyre spikes several times, but Tzioutziouklaris drove on the wrong side of the road or would reverse to avoid them.

Tzioutziouklaris was arrested after fleeing from the car on foot.

He was drug tested and returned a positive result to methamphetamine.

The prosecution said it was "sheer luck" that no-one was injured and there was no property damage.

Police prosecution told the court Tzioutziouklaris had demonstrated "no contrition" and had a "lack of empathy" for the safety of the community.

Tzioutziouklaris has spent about nine weeks in custody and seven weeks on home detention bail since being arrested in January.

'I am sorry'

Tzioutziouklaris's defence lawyer Heidi Hancock said her client's behaviour stemmed from his consumption of illicit substances to cope with "bad days".

She agreed it was sheer luck that no-one was killed or injured from Tzioutziouklaris's "foolish behaviour".

Tzioutziouklaris also addressed the court, saying he was aware of the seriousness of his crimes.

"I don't want to be that guy that's in and out of jail all my life".

Tzioutziouklaris will spent another four months in custody before being release on a two-year bond. (ABC News: Grace Whiteside)

In her sentencing remarks, Magistrate Kossiavelos said she did not give many defendants the benefit of speaking directly to her. 

She said Tzioutziouklaris's "extreme speed" put himself and others at "unimaginable risk".

Magistrate Kossiavelose said his actions were "so dangerous". 

Magistrate Kossiavelos urged Tzioutziouklaris to work on rehabilitating from his drug addiction.

Tzioutziouklaris will be released from prison in four months and his licence has been disqualified for five years.

Editor's Note 12/05/2022: An earlier version of this story stated that Giacobbe Tzioutziouklaris had been driving at 190kph. A Courts Administration Authority spokesperson has since clarified that the speed was 119kph.

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