Ballarat driver a risk to the public

A BALLARAT man has been refused bail after he allegedly crashed his car into a police vehicle and sparked a high speed pursuit.

Luke Tesso, 32, had his feet bare as he sat in the dock of Ballarat Magistrates Court last week, where he faced 17 charges including reckless conduct endangering serious injury, dangerous driving and speeding.

Police also applied to interview Tesso over two robberies at Aldi stores, including one at the Creswick Road store on November 9. 

Tesso and another man were alleged to have stolen about $980 of cash from the till. 

Tesso allegedly went to purchase items but when he reached the register the co-accused punched the attendant and grabbed the cash.

During the bail application Constable Gavin Lawry gave evidence, saying Tesso had led police on a high-speed chase around Wendouree on Wednesday.

He said Tesso repeatedly broke the speed limit during the pursuit, which was eventually called off by police. 

At one point around Lake Wendouree Tesso allegedly reached speeds of 100km/h in the 40km/h zone.

Constable Lawry said police had initially attempted to block Tesso’s car in Gerbera Street, but he accelerated heavily, colliding with the police car and speeding off.

“I think he’s definitely a risk to the public ... because he showed no signs of stopping for police when they tried to intercept him,” Constable Lawry said. “My interpretation is that should a police vehicle attempt to intercept him again the likely outcome will be the same as on Wednesday.”

Defence lawyer Mike Wardell said his client’s 28-page prior history, which included several jail terms, should act in his favour because it showed he could meet court requirements while on bail.

“He could have been expected to go on a rampage of drug use and other offences but seemingly that hasn’t happened,” Mr Wardell said. “His history shows he can comply when he’s up against it, he can attend court.”

But magistrate Frank Jones disagreed and took little time to refuse bail.

“The actions of the accused on this day were frightening,” he said.

“The most troubling aspect of this is he was on a suspended sentence ... for identical type of offending.The public has got to be protected from people who drive like this. He’s a danger to the community.”

Tesso is due back in court on November 29.