Hallucinating 'bugged' driver in 180km/h dash to air base
A BIZARRE drive filled with paranoid hallucinations ended with a holidaying Victorian man trying to seek refuge at RAAF Amberley air base after he claimed he was trying to evade his pursuers at speeds of up to 180km/h.
Police and military personnel chased Robert George Smith, 54, on foot after his ute was thwarted by the base's security boom gates.
Smith claimed his ute had been bugged as he headed along the Ipswich motorway after an apparent confrontation at a Redcliffe caravan park.
Smith, from the Victorian rural town of Myrtleford, said he had no full recollection of the events and agreed with police he was under the influence of a substance at the time.
Smith pleaded guilty at Ipswich Magistrates Court this week to driving under the influence of a substance; and trespass on Commonwealth Land at RAAF Amberley on February 19.
Police said the trespass took place at 3.30pm when Smith's white ute was stopped at the air base entry.
Smith left the ute and ran through the gate before making it 150m into the Commonwealth site and being stopped.
Prosecutor Sergeant Tracy told the court Smith said he had driven from Redcliffe to Ipswich at 180km/h.
"He appeared to be under the influence of a drug and was extensively sweating," she said.
Smith told police he wanted to enter the RAAF base "to find a safer place to get away".
Defence lawyer Dylan Hans said the matter was very unusual.
He said his client had no memory of the incident but accepted it happened.
Mr Hans said Smith was admitted to the Ipswich mental health unit and discharged on March 1.
Smith tested negative to alcohol.
Magistrate David Shepherd queried Smith's DUI plea.
Mr Hans said Smith accepted the evidence that he must have been under the influence of drugs.
He said Smith had finished a job in Victoria and decided to take a holiday to Queensland and only been holidaying in Redcliffe a couple of days when the offences occurred.
Mr Shepherd said if his paranoid response was as serious as suggested it was a concern over what the vehicle could have been used for.
Mr Shepherd said that Smith had driven to the base for an unknown purpose.
Mr Shepherd noted the unusual circumstances of the case and said Smith had acknowledged the voluntary consumption of something which contributed to a significant paranoid response that took him from Redcliffe to Ipswich and on to RAAF Amberley.
Smith had no prior criminal record and was convicted and fined $600.
His licence was disqualified for six months.