Two Mandurah men face mandatory sentences if found guilty

TWO men will fight to stay out of prison after entering not guilty pleas to leading police on separate chases which, if convicted, carries a minimum custodial sentence.

Magistrate Barbara Lane warned both men they will lose their right to a 15 per cent reduction in penalty should they later decide to plead guilty.

Michael Vincent Kowalewski pleaded not guilty to failing to stop and driving dangerously to escape pursuit, but was sentenced in relation to a no authority to drive charge stemming from the same January 25 incident.

Mr Kowalewski admitted he drove a motorcycle on the Kwinana Freeway without that class of licence and was fined $300 and disqualified from driving for three months.

Mr Kowalewski’s lawyer Brion Mahon told the court his client was the rider and was speeding but said the basis of his argument would be that Mr Kowalewski was unaware he was being pursued.

Also facing a mandatory prison term if convicted is Shawn Desmond David Dhu who made a point of apologising to Magistrate Lane for his ‘shameful’ multiple page criminal record.

Mr Dhu said he had been advised by his lawyer to plead not guilty to leading police on a high-speed chase through central Mandurah in October last year.

Police allege Mr Dhu was the driver of a Mazda utility caught speeding on Old Coast Road in Falcon.

Despite police activating their sirens, pulling alongside his vehicle and sounding a warning horn for him to pull over, it will be alleged Mr Dhu sped away, more than 50km/h above the limit through multiple central Mandurah streets.

Given the dangerous nature of his driving, police aborted the chase and inquiries were made into the ownership of the vehicle.

Later that day police attended a Silver Sands home where Mr Dhu was located and denied he was the driver.

Magistrate Lane granted Mr Dhu a surety bail and remanded him to his November 17 trial date.

Mr Kowalewski will be forced to wait until December 4 for his full day hearing with footage from the police helicopter allegedly involved in the chase to be shown and nine police witnesses set to give evidence.