A MOUNT Gambier man remarkably escaped custody at the Mount Gambier Courthouse on Wednesday just minutes after being sentenced to seven months and two weeks imprisonment for being involved in a police pursuit.
At around 4.30pm Wednesday, police officers swarmed on a location in Alexander Street and arrested Nathan Barry Lutton, 41, around 1.5km away from where he escaped custody.
An eyewitness to the arrest said police arrived in large numbers around the Crouch Street and Alexander Street area, clearly searching for someone.
“There were police walking through a car yard looking between cars for someone and before I knew it five or six patrol cars sped down Alexander Street,” the eyewitness said.
“Eventually they cordoned off an area and a man was arrested nearby, it was all quite surreal.”
Earlier Lutton was sentenced to a term of imprisonment and taken away by sheriff’s officers to the cells where he was meant to be later transferred to the Mount Gambier Prison.
When he was taken away, Lutton appeared dejected, however thanked Magistrate Teresa Anderson before he left the courtroom.
Mount Gambier Police officer in charge Senior Sergeant Chris King said a short time later an incident occurred at the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court where a 41-year-old man escaped lawful custody.
“The man was arrested a short distance away on Alexander Street and he was refused police bail,” Sgt King said.
“He has been charged with escaping lawful custody.”
It is the second time a person has been charged with escaping lawful custody at the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court after Joshua James Childs, 22, attempted to jump the barrier surrounding the dock in June 2016.
After being told he would not be granted bail, he made an “impulsive” decision to jump the barrier of the dock to escape custody.
At the Mount Gambier District Court circuit in October 2016, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the offence.
Lutton appeared in the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court yesterday in police custody and made no application for bail as his matter was listed for a declarations date.
Magistrate Anderson suggested Lutton speak to a lawyer as soon as possible if he was planning to plead guilty to the charge.
“It is in your best interests to urgently speak to a lawyer if you wish to plead guilty as this is a district court matter,” Magistrate Anderson said.
“If you decide you want to plead guilty, you can write to the court and have the matter called on, so I can commit you to the Mount Gambier District Court circuit in March for sentence.”
Lutton acknowledged the advice and was remanded in custody.
A person subject to lawful detention who escapes or attempts to escape from custody faces a maximum of seven years imprisonment for the offence.