Man sparked high-speed police chase after machete attack

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A 35-year-old Belfast man “befuddled” by drugs when he attacked a man with a machete before making off in his car, sparking a high-speed police chase, has been sentenced to a total of five years and nine months.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC told David James Francis Smith his was “an exceedingly serious offence”, but which fortunately did not have “a fatal outcome”.

The Belfast Crown Court judge said while the weapon was differently reported as being, sword like, a machete, or an iron bar as claimed by Smith, it mattered little, as a weapon was used in a deliberate attack.

Smith from Monagh Drive, who was also given a three-year driving ban, had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, dangerous driving and resisting police.

Prosecution counsel Peter Magill previously told the court that on December 9, 2014 a man was leaving to go to work when he was subjected to a sustained attack by Smith armed with a machete.

However, fortunately for him his injuries were much less than they might have been.

Mr Magill said that after the attack Smith took the man’s Laguna car, driving dangerously as it attempted to avoid two police cars pursuing it. Eventually the car crashed at Monagh Link, west Belfast, but Smith managed to evade arrest.

Some days later he gave himself up to police, but presented them with a prepared statement, setting out an alibi for the day in question.

Defence lawyer Arthur Harvey QC said Smith had “carried out the attack at a time when befuddled by a large quantity of drugs”.

However, Mr Harvey said had Smith intended to cause really serious harm, he could have done so and that the injuries suffered by his victim “do not reflect the intent at that time”.