A JUDGE told a frequent motoring offender that he seems to think, “road traffic laws don’t apply” to him, as he jailed him for a year.

Steven Finley, of Hall Crescent, Horden, was before Durham Crown Court for sentence after admitting failing to provide a breath specimen, assaulting an emergency worker by beating, and dangerous driving.

The court heard they arose from two incidents 15 days apart earlier this year, in both of which the 49-year-old defendant appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

Rebecca Brown, prosecuting, said, following a report of Finley having allegedly driven erratically around a taxi an ex-partner was travelling in, police went to his home at 10.15pm on March 26.

Miss Brown said the officers were confronted by a large Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog running out of the house and so they asked Finley to move it to a room out of the way, but he refused and became argumentative.

He went outside, shouting and swearing, claiming he had done nothing, but he was told he was being arrested for a public order offence.

Miss Brown said as he continued to shout and swear efforts were made to handcuff Finley, but as an officer tried to apply the device, Finley dug his finger into the veins on his wrist, causing discomfort.

As he continued to try to resist, he had to be taken to custody in a caged van.

Miss Brown said on arrival at the police station he was asked to provide a sample, but he refused.

“He showed clear signs of being under the influence and said: ‘Get the f**k out of my f***ing life.”

But she said the following day, when questioned, he agreed he had no right to assault the officer.

Released on police bail, Finley came to police attention again, on April 10, when two officers on mobile patrol in Horden were flagged down by a member of the public in Tenth Street to report that a silver car had driven into a house and rubble was on the ground.

The officers came across a silver Citroen Picasso in a rear alleyway of Sixth Street.

He was approached and asked to get out, but he drove off, leading to a two-minute chase around residential streets in Horden, in which he reached 50-mph and swerved around.

Miss Brown said having overtaken on the wrong side of Sunderland Road, Finley took a traffic island in the wrong direction and collided with an oncoming vehicle.

He came to a stop and abandoned the Picasso in the road, walking to the pavement where he was arrested.

Miss Brown said the officers believed Finley showed “clear signs of being drunk” and he failed a roadside test.

One of the three occupants of the car with which Finley's Picasso was in collision suffered various injuries, including a suspected broken shoulder and collar bone, concussion with subsequent memory loss and headaches.

The driver has since been anxious about getting back behind the wheel, having suffered flashbacks and the effects of whiplash on his neck.

Read more: Fifth attempt to have appeal heard against conviction for dangerous driving in 2020

Finley’s record of 38 convictions for 74 offences was said to include 32 for driving matters.

Robin Turton, for Finley, said despite his offending history he had been getting his life, “back on the straight and narrow”, and had legally been working as a delivery driver until the breakdown of a relationship.

Mr Turton added that the defendant claimed false allegations had been made about him, relating ot the lead up to his March 26 arrest which he resisted.

Imposing the 12-month prison sentence, with a two-year-and-six-month driving ban, Judge James Adkin told the defendant: “You seem to be someone who thinks road traffic laws don’t apply to you.”

The judge added that as he considers Finley poses a risk to road-using members of the public he made the prison sentence immediate, rather than suspended.

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