Mercedes Mum jailed for ‘deplorable’ crime
A Sydney woman, found guilty of sparking a police chase that hit speeds of up to 230km/h, has been jailed with the magistrate calling the crime "one of the worst I've seen".
Margarita Tomovska, 28, was sentenced to 18 months in jail for leading police on the terrifying high-speed chase for close to 10 minutes.
When Tomovska eventually stopped the pursuit, responding officers found she had a three-year-old child crying in the back, sitting in an unrestrained car seat.
Boasting about her all-white outfit on social media last night, Tomovska didn't react when Magistrate Susan McGowan said she was left with no other choice than to jail the single mother.
Tomovska now faces an anxious wait as her defence lawyer Louis Angelovski files an appeal application.
If the application is denied, Tomovska will spend the first of many nights behind bars for the offence. She will be eligible for parole in nine months with a release date of July 16 set.
The maximum penalty for fleeing from police is three years in jail and a three-year licence disqualification.
Police prosecutor Amelia Wall told the court there was "something seriously wrong" if Tomovska was not sent to jail for the offence.
Ms Wall kicked off her submission with an immediate rebuttal to Mr Angelovski's claim Tomovska was "apologetic".
"There's videos on Instagram of her car hitting 126km/h in an 80 zone," Ms Wall said, referring to footage Tomovska took being driven down to Wollongong Court today.
Ms Wall said Tomovska had shown "absolutely no remorse" for the crime.
"The defendant has shown absolutely no remorse. In fact, quite the opposite. She has relished in the attention. Boasting and skylarking on social media," she said.
"Playing the victim on a GoFundMe page titled 'Fight Raptor' trying to raise $100,000 for her own use, all the while gloating on social media about spending thousands on clothing and accessories."
Tomovska posted a picture of herself on Instagram last night wearing her courtroom outfit for today and boasting about how much it cost.
"15k for one day. Why not?" Tomovska wrote, tagging brands including Dior and Versace.
"Reprehensible and deplorable. Ms Tomovska needs to be denounced," Sergeant Wall said.
"The risk she posed to the community far outweighs any need she has for licence and liberty."
In August, Tomovska was found guilty of sparking the high-speed chase with police through the northern Illawarra suburb of Helensburgh.
Tomovska was arrested on November 13 for going more than double the speed limit with an unrestrained child in the back seat of her souped-up Mercedes.
The 28-year-old pleaded not guilty to the dangerous crime, posting a #NotGuilty countdown to her Instagram in the days leading up to her hearing.
Tomovska's defence lawyer Mr Angelovski told the court today his client should not be jailed for the crime.
He said Tomovska was a single mother with a young daughter whose father was absent and not paying child support.
"She has abided to the police suspension and has had no other matters before the court. We ask the court to take into account that this is her first matter," he said.
Mr Angelovski told the court Tomovska was "still young" and had been "abstinent from all drug use". She also completed a traffic offender's program shortly after her arrest last year and a parenting course.
Mr Angelovski recommended the 28-year-old be punished with a community corrections order and community service.
"All in all it was a recipe for disaster," Magistrate McGowan told the court.
"I cannot stress the danger to everyone involved … the margin for error is minimal, really. There wasn't any when one goes at that speed.
"I am of the view that the sergeant's submissions are compelling and of great substance. (Cars) are lethal, lethal weapons, you may as well be shooting a bullet out of a gun because if you hit someone it'll be fatal."
Magistrate McGowan told the court her jailing Tomovska was not a decision she had "come to lightly".
"I am of the view that there is no other sentence that would satisfy the requirement of objective seriousness other than a sentence of imprisonment," she said.
"Even taking into account the circumstances … I just don't think the court can be seen not to take such a view in respect to offences of this nature, I've never seen one quite as bad as this in my 10 years."
Consequently, Magistrate McGowan sentenced Tomovska to 18 months' jail with a non-parole period of nine months.
Her licence was also suspended for two years from today.
MAGISTRATE'S 'INTELLIGENCE AFFRONTED'
In her August hearing, Tomovska's defence lawyer told the court the 28-year-old had been under duress when she decided to speed away from the highway patrol car because of her front seat passenger.
The passenger, Christopher King, was described by police in court today as a "potentially dangerous man" whose frame was so big the arresting officers required two sets of handcuffs to restrain him.
Police from Strike Force Raptor, a specialist team in NSW Police that focuses on bikies and serious offenders, had been following Tomovska's car after receiving intelligence King would be the only one inside and could potentially be armed, Senior Constable Tuma told the court.
Despite King's reputation, the court found Tomovska was not under duress when she chose to speed away from police, engaging them in a high-speed chase for a few minutes before she abruptly pulled over.
Magistrate Susan McGowan told the court she was "speechless" after final submissions were made but promised to deliver a heavy judgment after having her lunch.
Deliver she did, lashing Tomovska and coming to the conclusion the 28-year-old was under absolutely no duress.
"I've felt as if my intelligence was being affronted, that's how unbelievable it all was," Magistrate McGowan told the court.
"It's obvious (Tomovska) could've told police at a later time as to what happened … there were numerous occasions where she had the opportunity to tell police that she was scared. She never mentioned it once.
"Would a reasonable person act as she did with a little girl in the back of the car? I don't think they would."