Shepparton News

Kialla man facing driving charges bailed

- By Monique Preston

The police airwing was used to track a man who was allegedly speeding in a Shepparton residentia­l street with only a torch strapped to the front of the motorbike to see with.

Raymond Ritchie, 24, of Kialla, was successful in his applicatio­n for bail in Shepparton Magistrate­s’ Court.

He is charged with driving in a dangerous manner, driving carelessly, driving while disqualifi­ed, using an unregister­ed vehicle and contraveni­ng a bail condition.

Prosecutor Samantha Owen told the court the police airwing crew spotted Mr Ritchie speeding and doing a wheelie, while riding a Suzuki 250 dirt bike in Graham St, Shepparton, at 9.40 am on August 18.

He had been tracked as he rode along streets including Carson St, Pine Rd, and Wanganui Rd.

The only light on the dirt bike was a torch strapped to the front of it, while there were no brake lights or speedomete­r, Ms Owen said.

Mr Ritchie’s probationa­ry licence was also suspended at the time.

He was also on two counts of bail at the time.

Ms Owen said the bail was for an alleged incident on September 26 last year, with charges including dangerous driving while being pursued by police, reckless conduct endangerin­g serious injury, driving at a dangerous speed, unlicensed driving, driving an unregister­ed vehicle and running a red traffic light.

She said the other alleged incident he was on bail for occurred on May 26, and he is facing charges of theft of a vehicle, driving while disqualifi­ed, committing an indictable offence on bail and contraveni­ng a conduct of bail.

Ms Owen said Mr Ritchie had “an appalling history of driving offences” and was on bail at the time for “pursuit-related offences”.

“He is an unacceptab­le risk to the community based on the driving offences alone,” she said.

“We only saw him because we had the police airwing. We don’t have it every day. How often is he out there on the road breaching bail conditions?”

Mr Ritchie’s solicitor Emma King said her client had spent a night in the police cells after he was picked up — his first time in custody — and “he described the experience as pretty shocking”.

“This experience now of being before the court on exceptiona­l circumstan­ces and on the brink of going into custody . . . has been a significan­t warning to him,” Ms King said.

She also said the “criminogen­ic effect” of being in custody could have a “detrimenta­l effect on his rehabilita­tion into the future”.

Ms King told the court the availabili­ty of Court Integrated Services Program treatment would provide extra support.

Magistrate Mary-Anne MacCallum granted bail saying that risk could be reduced to an acceptable level.

Mr Ritchie’s bail conditions include a 10 pm-6 am curfew, that he not drive, that he not take drugs and will do drug tests, and that he has weekly bail reviews.

He will next appear in court on September 10.

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