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    A police officer has been charged with dangerous driving and reckless conduct endangering life, after he allegedly travelled up to 230km/h.

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      Police Officer Who Travelled at 230km/hr Charged with Dangerous Driving

      A police officer has been charged with dangerous driving and reckless conduct endangering life, after he allegedly travelled up to 230km/h.

      Leading Senior Constable Bradley Beecroft was rushing to help an injured colleague who had been struck by a car on the side of a freeway.

      At the time, the severity of the colleague’s injuries was unclear.

      The case will return to court in June.

      Charged with Dangerous Driving

      Bradley Beecroft was charged with dangerous driving as well as reckless conduct endangering life, reckless conduct endangering serious injury and exceeding the speed limit.

      Reckless conduct endangering life carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

      Police allege the leading senior constable was on duty with another officer when the pair were notified a fellow officer had possibly been injured. The extent of the injuries wasn’t clear at the time.

      The injured officer had pulled over on the side of the freeway to attend to an incident when his vehicle was struck while he was inside.

      Bradley Beecroft rushed to the Hume Freeway where the incident occurred.

      The in-car video showed that he turned his lights and sirens on before engaging in “urgent duty driving”. After a fixed speed camera allegedly clocked the highway patrol officer travelling at 207km/h in a 110km/h zone.

      When he reached the scene of the crash, he attended to his injured colleague, who then spent the night in hospital.

      An internal police investigation later found Beecroft allegedly engaged in “urgent duty driving” for seven minutes on an 8.7-kilometre stretch of freeway, overtaking 77 vehicles.

      Police claim that he reached a top speed of 230km/h and an average speed of 205km/h.

      The prosecution will be that the accused’s actions placed others, including his colleague in the car, in danger.

      Beecroft was interviewed about his driving in December. He told investigators he felt he had driven appropriately for the conditions and his qualifications. This was largely based on his belief that up to two police officers might have been injured on the roadside.

      He told investigators, during the same interview, that given “recent events” he was looking at the traffic and conditions and not his speed.

      This was a reference to an incident in April 2020, where four Victoria Police members died on the side of the Eastern Freeway at Kew after being hit by a truck.

      Other police units that attended the Euroa accident site travelled at speeds significantly lower than Beecroft. Five other police units drove between 141km/h and 166.9km/h.

      The injured officer in the present case only spent a night in hospital with bruising.

      Beecroft, who had been a highway patrol officer had been a policeman for 16 years held a gold class licence. This provides an exemption to holders from the speed limit.

      Ramifications for Police

      Beecroft stated that he believes the case could have ramifications for officers required to travel at speed to urgent jobs.

      “Emergency services are currently being criticised for taking too long to attend jobs. I’m being criticised for getting there too fast,” he said.

      His traffic lawyers told the court that their client, “travelled in circumstances where he believed he might be met with police officers in a critical condition or worse, and where time was of the essence.”

      Leading Senior Constable Beecroft’s partner, a 45-year veteran of the Highway Patrol Unit, agreed with the speeds he travelled.

      However, a Police spokeswoman said while there were no speed restrictions for police officers who hold a gold class driving authority, “drivers must still travel in a reasonable and safe manner that does not endanger themselves or the public”.

      The Offence of Dangerous Driving

      Under Section 117 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), to be found guilty for this offence, police must prove, beyond reasonable doubt that:

      1. You drove a vehicle (this means that you were “in control of the steering, movement or propulsion of a vehicle”);
      2. At the time of driving you were driving the vehicle at a speed or in a manner that created a danger to other users of the road.

      The decision of McBride v R [1966] HCA 22 explains that driving in a ‘Manner Dangerous’ is concerned with the degree of ‘potential danger’, as opposed to any actual injury or damage that was caused.

      Traffic lawyers in Sydney explain that ‘Speed Dangerous’ is again concerned with the degree of ‘potential danger’, as opposed to any actual injury or damage that was caused.

      In assessing both your speed and manner of driving, the Court will assess a number of factors including:

      1. the time of day;
      2. degree of traffic;
      3. weather conditions;
      4. any obstructions on the road; and
      5. general road conditions.

      For a first offence of Drive in Manner Dangerous, the maximum penalty is 9 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,200.

      This is why it is important to obtain advice from lawyers for dangerous driving charges who have successfully defended hundreds of similar cases. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email info@astorlegal.com.au.

      You can be found ‘not guilty’ if one of the following defences to dangerous driving apply:

      1. The speed you were driving was not dangerous;
      2. The manner in which you were driving was not dangerous;
      3. Identification: Police cannot prove that you were driving the vehicle
      4. Honest and reasonable mistake: You genuinely believed your driving was safe and it was reasonable for you to hold this belief. For example, where your vehicle had a defect.
      5. Duress: You were forced to drive while suspended.
      6. Necessity: You needed to drive in the circumstances (eg. you were escaping a serious assault)

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