Great Escapes (from NSW prisons) - Number 5

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Friday 6 March 2009

R v Smith [2004] NSW Court of Criminal Appeal 69

Reading through this case is like watching an extensive and intricate set up of dominos toppling over. Every step of the way had been carefully planned and in my view wonderfully (albeit criminally) executed. Here are the facts from the judgment, (which can be found here):

    “The appellant escaped from his cell at the Goulburn Correctional Centre on 24 July 2001 at about 10.30 pm. His cell was on the second floor. He escaped by forcing open bars of the cell window and he forced those cell bars by using a crude metal device he had fashioned in the metal shop. Having forced open the window, the appellant climbed down to the ground, using a rope. Having reached the ground, he then scaled a chain wire fence with barbed wire at the top of it. 

    From a bucket handle he had fashioned some hooks in the metal shop and he used those hooks to draw the barbed wire at the top of the fence out of harm's way for him. So it was that there was an element of planning in this escape. The appellant left a note for the Governor, in which he apologised for any inconvenience that he had caused, and in which he expressed an assurance that no prison officers or inmates knew of his escape plans.”

Despite his criminality, I like his ingenuity but also his apology note – sorry for the inconvenience, but see you later. Most definitely on my Top 5 list of escapes.


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