Renae Lawrence Avoids Jail Over High-Speed Car Chase
Convicted Bali Nine drug smuggler Renae Lawrence has avoided jail time over her role in a 2005 high-speed stolen car chase involving police in NSW.
Newcastle Local Court magistrate Sharron Crews on Tuesday told Lawrence, 41, that the charges against her were serious and a conviction had to be recorded.
Lawrence was placed on a 12-month community corrections order, disqualified from driving for three months and fined $1000.
Crews said Lawrence's case was not one where a warrant had been issued for her arrest and police found her years later when she had turned her life around.
The magistrate noted Lawrence had spent 13 years in a Balinese jail for drug smuggling and that experience had changed her.
Defence lawyer Drew Hamilton told the court Lawrence was now a completely different person compared to 2005 when she had a drug problem.
Hamilton said Lawrence was a very resilient woman who was dealing with mental health issues. She'd been "put through the ringer", he said.
Lawrence could have contested the charges given how difficult it would have been for the prosecution to prove her guilt over a matter which happened almost 14 years ago, Hamilton said.
But she had wanted to admit her wrongdoing at the earliest possible opportunity.
"Today is a good opportunity for Ms Lawrence and her family to draw a line in the sand and move forward," the lawyer said.
"This is someone who has been punished significantly in the past 13 years."
Crews said her task was to make sure Lawrence was held accountable for her actions in 2005 before she went to Bali.
Lawrence -- who's been suffering from anxiety and depression since her return to Australia in November 2018 following her release from a Bali prison --- pleaded guilty to charges of car theft, driving while unlicensed, speeding and failing to stop for police.
Lawrence had stolen a white Ford Laser hatch at Enfield at about 4am on March 26, 2005, and was driving at 130km/h in a 90 zone at Mooney Mooney before her arrest.
She was subsequently caught at Bali airport in April 2005 with 2.7 kilograms of heroin strapped to her body and later jailed for 20 years.
She served 13 years after being granted sentence reductions.
The two ringleaders of the smuggling plan, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were executed in 2015.