Trowbridge driver in police chase drama wins cut in jail term
Updated 6:14pm Wednesday 6th August 2014 in By Staff reporter
A 'deplorable' driver from Trowbridge who led police on a high-speed chase through the streets of Bristol has had his jail term cut on appeal.
Jonathan Joseph Cain took a hire car his mother had rented and, when officers tried to stop him, he refused to stop and sped off.
He injured one police officer after being cornered by them a first time, and wouldn't get out of the car when brought to a halt for the second time - forcing officers to smash the car windows.
The 32-year-old, of Canal Road, Trowbridge, was locked up for 16 months and banned from driving for four years at Bristol Crown Court in April, after admitting dangerous driving.
But his sentence was cut to 12 months by judges sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court today, who said the original term was too long.
He also had his motoring ban halved after the court heard he wouldn't be able to get to his job in Portishead easily following his release from prison if he was unable to drive because of 'transport problems' in the area.
Mr Justice Bean told the court Cain was living with his mother at the time of the incident, on 17 January, and took a car she had hired - without her knowing or allowing him to use it.
While he was driving around Bristol, police spotted him and decided to pull him over, putting on their emergency lights and sirens.
But Cain refused to stop, instead leading the officers on a pursuit through the busy streets - overtaking cars on the wrong side of the road and forcing other motorists to stop to avoid a crash.
At one point the officers managed to box him in and got out of their vehicle to arrest him, but he reversed his car - causing damage to the police car and minor injuries to one of the officers.
They managed to stop him again soon after, but had to smash his car windows after he refused to co-operate.
His lawyers argued his sentence was over the top, saying it was not the most serious case of its kind. His speed was not that far in excess of the limit, he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and he didn't have a bad driving record.
Allowing his appeal, Mr Justice Bean said the original term was 'excessive'.
Sitting with Lady Justice Hallett and Mr Justice Foskett, he added: "Putting all the factors together, we think counsel are right to say that this was not in the very worst category.
"We consider that the appropriate sentence is one of 12 months."
The judges also reduced his ban to two years, although he will not be allowed back on the roads until he re-takes his driving test, saying he was not a 'danger' to the public in the way some driving offenders are.
Mr Justice Bean said his former employers had written an 'impressive' letter, saying they were willing to have him back when he is freed from jail.
He added: "Although the police chase itself was a bad one, and Cain's driving was deplorable, he is not somebody with the sort of history of repeated road traffic offences, from whom the public need to be protected by disqualification for a very lengthy period.
"In light of all the information, we are prepared to reduce the disqualification from four years to two."