S**t excuse holds up in court
A CALL of nature, rather than a desire to evade police, was found to be Zane Allan Savage's motivation for taking a shortcut along a bush footpath.
The 48-year-old was charged with failing to stop his green van after Maleny police tried to intercept him for a licence check on August 27 last year.
Mr Savage fought the charge at trial, with Magistrate Stephanie Tonkin handing down her decision in Caloundra Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The court heard police had seen Mr Savage driving west along Landsborough Maleny Rd and decided to do a u-turn to intercept him.
Ms Tonkin said there was nothing illegal about Mr Savage's manner of driving at the time that would lead him to believe police would be after him.
Police saw Mr Savage's van in a cutting off the road.
They knew the cutting was close to a grassed public footpath that was wide enough for a vehicle to go down.
Mr Savage drove along the footpath.
The footpath emerged onto Mary Cairncross Ave, near where Mr Savage lived in a double-decker bus.
It was a more direct route to his home than sticking to the road to go around.
Ms Tonkin said evidence given by Mr Savage's Maleny GP detailed seven years of bowel issues Mr Savage had endured as a result of a blastocystis parasite infection.
Symptoms include diarrhoea, cramping, bleeding and bloating of the gut.
The court heard people with the parasite could need to defecate quite urgently.
Ms Tonkin said police followed Mr Savage down the footpath in the belief he was trying to avoid being intercepted.
They activated lights and sirens but Mr Savage did not stop, instead scraping paint from his van as he went between two thinly-spaced bollards at the end of the path.
He then continued driving along Mary Cairncross Ave.
Police stopped at the bollards.
They eventually got through and went to Mr Savage's home.
They went inside and arrested him.
He claimed to have no knowledge as to why they were there.
The court saw dashcam footage from the police vehicle as it travelled along the path showing Mr Savage's van driving while lights and sirens were operating.
But Ms Tonkin was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Savage had seen the lights or heard the sirens.
She said it had been raining so it was reasonable to accept his windows had been wound up and he was listening to his van's stereo.
Ms Tonkin said it was also unlikely Mr Savage had seen the flashing lights.
She also accepted Mr Savage's medical condition was the explanation as to why he took the shortcut instead of going the long way around.
Mr Savage was found not guilty of failing to stop and the charge was dismissed.