Jail for carjacker


Ewen McRae

A man who stole a car at knifepoint before leading police on a high-speed chase through Caroline Springs has been sentenced to more than four years behind bars.

Jai Bright plead guilty in the County Court to aggravated carjacking and dangerous driving while being pursued by police, following an incident on April 7, 2019.

The court heard that Bright and another man were waiting outside the Modern Medical Centre in Caroline Springs when they approached a man who was about to start a shift cleaning the centre.

Bright demanded the man give him his car keys, and when the man refused Bright pulled out a serrated knife and threatened him with it.

The man threw his keys at Bright, who then fled the scene with the other man.

The victim contacted police, who soon located the car and tried to stop it, however, Bright took evasive action by mounting a traffic island and speeding down Melton Highway.

The police air wing tracked the vehicle as it sped along the Western Highway, through Caroline Springs and Deer Park, sometimes reaching speeds up to 150km/h, the court heard.

The vehicle eventually sustained damage on a traffic island in Cairnlea and Bright and the other man fled on foot before police found them in a backyard.

Judge Irene Lawson said the offending was serious enough to warrant a significant jail term.

“Both the circumstances of the aggravated carjacking and the dangerous driving whilst being pursued by police are serious examples of these very serious offences,” Judge Lawson said.

“The dangerous driving is a particularly bad example of this type of offending. It involves a course of conduct of dangerous driving of some duration on major roadways where other vehicles were present.

“The driving at speed, repeatedly on the wrong side of the road and travelling through intersections against red lights demonstrated little regard for the safety of other road users who were impacted and exposed to your dangerous driving.

“Furthermore, you have never held a driver’s licence. It is only by good fortune that there were not any accidents or injuries suffered. It is objectively a serious example of this offence.”

Bright was sentenced to four years and six months in prison and will be eligible for parole after three years.