A man who fitted his motorcycle with a number plate bearing the word BYPIG was caught by police after leading them on a reckless and extended evasion through Glen Dhu and Kings Meadows, the Launceston Magistrates Court heard.
Joseph Weston, 33, now of Point Cook, Victoria, appeared via telephone.
He was sentenced to four months jail which was wholly suspended for two years and fined $1000. Weston pleaded guilty to numerous charges including evading police, exceeding the speed limit, drugs and firearms charges in November 2019.
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Police prosecutor Matt Hills told Magistrate Simon Brown that police noticed the number plate at the Door of Hope car park.
He said Weston took off so fast that he ran over the top of a concrete kerb which caused the back tyre on the Suzuki to go flat. He drove on Wellington Street and Hobart Road at speeds of up to 90km/h crossing the double white lines into the face of oncoming traffic.
He turned into Quarantine Road before he abandoned the motorcycle near Penquite Road and decamped.
When apprehended he volunteered a fully loaded .357 Magnum pistol from his jacket. Six bullets were removed and a further five rounds were in his pocket.
The weapon was worth $5000 and had been stolen in Prospect Vale last year.
Mr Hills said the BYPIG number plate was not lawfully registered.
Defence counsel Olivia Jenkins said Weston was a self-employed concreter but had left his truck and tools in Tasmania when he went to Victoria shortly before lockdown.
She said he was not intending to return to Tasmania.
She said the lockdown had forced him to go cold turkey and cease using illicit drugs.
In sentencing, Mr Brown said the evade police was a serious episode which continued over some distance.
"And when caught you produced nothing less than a .357 Magnum pistol which was fully loaded," he said.
"This offence is a concerning one, to possess a loaded gun in a public place makes the community very nervous indeed," Mr Brown said.
"In my view, a term of imprisonment is appropriate although it will be wholly suspended," he said.
Weston was handed three months for the evade police incident and one month for the possession of the loaded firearm and possession of a stolen firearm.
He was fined $1000 for the possession of ammunition, dishonestly displaying a number plate and drug possession.