MOUNT Gambier political candidates were startled when they heard a man had allegedly escaped from custody at the city’s courthouse on Wednesday afternoon.
Nathan Barry Lutton, 41, appeared in court yesterday morning after he escaped custody at the Mount Gambier Courthouse and was arrested 1.5km away on Alexander Street.
Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell said the alleged incident definitely raised concerns about the security at the courthouse.
“If it had been a serious offender, you would be wondering what policies and procedures were in place that enabled this to occur,” Mr Bell said.
In light of the events, Mr Bell hoped the offender did not have underlying issues that may have led to his decision to attempt to escape.
“If these allegations result in guilt, he has just made the situation a whole lot worse for himself,” he said.
When asked if he believed this would encourage other criminals to attempt to escape from custody at the court, Mr Bell said a full review of the incident should prevent any similar incident occurring in the future.
“I am sure after a review they will put procedures in place at the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court to ensure that a situation like this doesn’t occur again,” he said.
Liberal candidate Craig Marsh said the alleged incident highlighted the need for more security measures to be put in place at the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court.
“It is definitely alarming because it sounds like we need more sheriff’s officers and security around the court, I think this incident proves that,” Mr Marsh said.
“I know the police station is across the road, but as far as I am aware there are no security cameras around the court.”
Mr Marsh said Mount Gambier also deserved more police resources to be deployed in the region.
“We need to be putting more money into the police department in Mount Gambier,” Mr Marsh said.
“With the prison growing in Mount Gambier, it is bringing more interesting people into the region, so I think a city the size of ours deserves more police resources.”
The Department of Correctional Services was contacted for comment on the matter, however said it did not concern them as the offender had not been handed over to prison authorities when he escaped.