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Drugs, leading police on chase yields 10 more months

A Prince George man who led police on a chase through city streets was sentenced Wednesday to a further 10 months in jail.
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A Prince George man who led police on a chase through city streets was sentenced Wednesday to a further 10 months in jail.

In all, Neil Romeo Joseph Hamel, 41, was issued a term of 26 months but received credit of 16 months for time served prior to sentencing.

Hamel had remained in custody since his arrest on Dec. 15, 2015 after he tried to evade RCMP who spotted him behind the wheel of a car, contrary to a prohibition.

In the process, Hamel went through stop signs, swerved into oncoming lanes and narrowly missed other drivers as he fishtailed along snowbound streets, hit a pickup truck and then kept going, swerving onto front lawns and running into a snowbank before finally stranding his car on top of a cement barrier at a dead end.

"An extraordinary amount of property damage obviously and risk to the public on every portion of the road that was traveled in terms of people who could have been injured with a car careening out of control," provincial court judge Michael Gray commented.

He also noted it was the second time Hamel has committed that type of offence. In 2012, Hamel was sentenced to eight months in jail after for attempting to evade police in a stolen truck.

But Gray also acknowledged Hamel's efforts to turn his life around during the time he's been in custody.

The outcome Wednesday represents a compromise between the positions of Crown and defence counsels, who were seeking 30 and 18 months respectively.

Broken down, Hamel was sentenced to consecutive terms of 14 months for possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking - 6.17 grams of methamphetamine was found in the car - and 12 months for fleeing police. Crown had been seeking 18 and 12 months consecutively while defence argued they be served concurrently.

For other items found in the car, Hamel was also sentenced to concurrent terms of three months each for possession of firearm, contrary to an order and possessing a weapon for dangerous purpose.

On top of that, Hamel was also sentenced to a further seven days in jail, consecutive to the sentenced from the December 2015 incident, for three counts of possession of a controlled substance from an April 2015 apprehension in which quantities of crack cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin were found on him.

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