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'Because Breanna was watching': Driver accelerates off with constable hanging out of car

Author
Open Justice,
Publish Date
Wed, 25 May 2022, 3:06pm
Abbas Joumaah was pulled over by police flashing red and blue lights. Photo / NZME
Abbas Joumaah was pulled over by police flashing red and blue lights. Photo / NZME

'Because Breanna was watching': Driver accelerates off with constable hanging out of car

Author
Open Justice,
Publish Date
Wed, 25 May 2022, 3:06pm

A driver who accelerated away from a traffic stop with a police officer hanging out of his car door has been given 200 hours of community work. 

Abbas Salem Joumaah, 27, was also disqualified from driving for eight months. 

"All I can say is that you are very, very lucky that you are not facing more serious charges, if the officer had fallen out," Judge Geoff Rea told Joumaah in the Napier District Court on Wednesday. 

Joumaah was being sentenced on four charges: operating a motor vehicle with a sustained loss of traction, obstructing police, resisting police and reckless driving. 

Police prosecutor Alistair Todd said Joumaah was driving his BMW northeast along Taradale Road, Napier, shortly before 10pm on February 5 when he accelerated heavily at a roundabout, losing traction. 

He was pulled over by an officer who put on his red and blue lights, and who then asked Joumaah to surrender his keys. 

When Joumaah refused, he was warned he would be arrested for obstruction. 

He still refused and the constable put handcuffs on Joumaah's right wrist. 

As he did so, Joumaah pulled the constable into the car and began driving off down the road with the officer's legs hanging out the car door. 

The constable repeatedly asked him to stop the car. 

"The defendant refused and began weaving across the road and accelerating heavily," Todd said. 

The constable was able to stop Joumaah "after a brief struggle". 

When police asked Joumaah for an explanation, he said he did it "because Breanna was there watching". 

In imposing the community work sentence, Judge Rea said 200 hours was a lot "but it needs to be imposed to reflect to you and others that you cannot behave in the way that you did". 

The court was told that Joumaah had written a letter of apology to the police officer.