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High-speed chase results in jail stint for criminal

Conditional sentence converted

Jamie Larson is the kind of criminal who gives conditional sentences a bad name.

The Winnipeg man received a lucky break earlier this year when a judge spared him a jail term after he admitted to cocaine-possession charges. Typically, that type of offence results in custody.

But Larson, 29, hardly took his house arrest seriously, court heard Thursday.

When police caught him in the act of breaching his 24-hour curfew one evening earlier this summer, Larson triggered a dangerous high-speed chase that began on Henderson Highway and wound its way through several residential streets. He was doing 130 km/h -- more than double the speed limit -- and blew through several red lights and stop signs.

Police were forced to call off the chase because of public safety concerns, but Larson's freedom was short-lived. He was arrested days later and is now paying a heavy price for his actions.

First, the remaining 19 months of Larson's conditional sentence have been terminated and converted to jail. And on Thursday, provincial court Judge Lee Ann Martin slapped an additional year behind bars for the charge of motor vehicle flight from police.

"I just want to apologize for driving at that speed," Larson told the judge.

The Crown was seeking a further 18-month sentence for Larson, saying he put the lives of anyone on the road that night in jeopardy. As well, they noted Larson is under a lifetime ban from driving following a 2008 conviction for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

Defence lawyer Roberta Campbell admitted her client screwed up and panicked when police tried to pull him over. Officers had been conducting surveillance on Larson to ensure compliance with his conditional penalty, court was told.

Larson was seen in a vehicle on a handful of other occasions, but police didn't arrest him because he had an exemption to his curfew that allowed him to be outside his home if looking for a job. As well, his girlfriend was behind the wheel.

"Some of these (nights out) were OK. What's not OK is the high-speed chase he got into," said Campbell.

Police also thought he might be re-involved in drug dealing, but found no evidence of it upon his rearrest, court was told.

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