A young man’s two-week crime spree ended in a dramatic confrontation where he bruised a police officer before kicking and punching a dog, a court has been told.
Before being cornered by the dog squad, Cody Cortes spent weeks breaking into people’s homes, stealing and putting motorists in danger with his reckless driving.
The incidents were so risky police had to terminate their pursuits, with the 23-year-old on one occasion flashing a spotlight directly into his pursuer’s eyes.
Sporting a striped collared shirt and jeans on Friday, Cortes pleaded guilty at Brisbane District Court to a raft of charges, including dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, burglary and serious assault.
The court was told Cortes first came to the attention of police after a disturbance in Nanango in rural Queensland on March 4, 2021.
Officers pursued him as he drove up to 120km/h and on the wrong side of the road before Cortes shone a rear spotlight into the eyes of pursuing police.
“The passengers who were in the car at the time requested the defendant to stop,” Crown prosecutor Erin Kelly said.
Four days later, he asked a friend to drive him to hospital to “pick up needles”.
While left alone in the car, Cortes drove off with the man’s wallet and phone.
A day later, he stole two motorbikes, worth $16,000, from a man’s house. Both bikes were uninsured and have not been recovered.
Ms Kelly said the “most serious” dangerous pursuit took place between Cortes and police on March 14 when he reached speeds up to 144km/h.
The court was told that he crossed unbroken white lines and other drivers had to take evasive action.
On March 18, while meeting a friend on a forestry track, Cortes drove off as police attended, hitting his friend’s car and a police pod.
Ms Kelly said Cortes was arrested a day later after breaking into a house in Dalby, stealing clothes and car keys to “disguise himself”.
“He was tracked by a police dog and was extremely violent upon his arrest,” she said.
While being detained, Cortes punched and kicked the arresting officer and the police dog.
The officer suffered minor bruising and abrasions, but Cortes required hospital treatment for bites from the police dog.
The court was told the young man had a longstanding addiction to drugs.
Defence barrister Phil Hardcastle said his client had been introduced to the drug ice at age 15 while on hunting or fishing trips with older colleagues.
“He fell back into the problem in 2020 when his best friend was killed in a car accident,” Mr Hardcastle said.
“Unfortunately, he went downhill fast.”
Cortes, who has spent more than a year in pre-sentence custody, had completed narcotics counselling and was doing numeracy and literacy courses to get his certificate for year 10 education, the court was told.
Mr Hardcastle said Cortes planned to live with his mother upon release.
Judge Gregory Lyndham imposed a head sentence of three years’ jail, ordering it cumulative on a previous suspended sentence Cortes had received.
His time spent in pre-sentence custody was declared as time served on the suspended sentence.
Cortes will be eligible for parole in July.