Dandenong driver denied bail for high-speed police chase

A MAN charged over a dangerous high-speed pursuit near Beaufort recently, again applied for bail yesterday, urging the court that there were new facts and circumstances to warrant his release. 

But Darren Wartnaby, 24, of Dandenong, was refused bail for the second time in as many weeks, with magistrate Ian Von Einem saying Wartnaby desperately needed to seek legal advice. 

Wartnaby was arrested on January 12 this year after leading police on a high-speed pursuit near Beaufort in which he allegedly reached speeds of more than 170km/h.

Detailing the offending,  police prosecutor Senior Constable Steve Kent said Wartnaby, who was unlicensed and driving an unregistered car, reached speeds of 100km/h in a 50km/h zone while evading police in Beaufort’s town centre. 

Senior Constable Kent said police proceeded to chase Wartnaby on the Western Highway towards Ararat, but lost sight of Wartnaby despite reaching speeds of 150km/h. 

Wartnaby is charged with a raft of offences including dangerous driving while under police pursuit, negligent driving while under police pursuit, failing to stop on police request, driving at a speed dangerous, reckless conduct endangering life, driving while suspended, driving an unregistered motor car, dealing in property suspected of being the proceeds of crime and possessing a drug of dependence. 

Arrested after being found hiding behind a hotel at Elmhurst, the court heard police searched Wartnaby’s car and found several items believed to have been stolen. 

Representing himself yesterday, a composed Wartnaby said he needed bail in order to organise evidence which would help his case. 

“I need to contact some supports and stuff,” he told magistrate Ian Von Einem. 

Refusing Wartnaby’s application, Mr Von Einem said there were no new facts and circumstances. 

“It’s about time you start taking some advice from lawyers,” Mr Von Einem said. 

Wartnaby was remanded to March 13, when it is expected he will he will plead guilty to some of the charges.