Great Escapes (from NSW prisons) - Introduction

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Thursday 5 March 2009

As I begin this series of posts on the top 5 escapes from NSW prisons, please do not at any stage be alarmed (feel free to be alert, as our country needs more lerts) but do not be alarmed. Do not worry about prison escapees, do not be concerned about axe-murderers on the loose, and do not go to bed wondering whether an escapee is looking into your bedroom window with the intention of committing further crime. Why? Primarily because of all the offences under the NSW Crimes Act, section 310D, namely the offence of escape lawful custody is one of the rarest (except perhaps for the offences of bigamy, section 92, stealing cattle, section 126, and impersonating a police officer, s 546D). The fact is, that hardly anyone escapes and when they do, apart from maybe stealing a car (or two), they generally try to maintain a low profile (for what I think are quite obvious reasons).

But if you are still worried about escapees – don’t be, as you may or may not be surprised to learn that for the period from April 2006 to March 2008, the New South Wales Local Courts sentenced 15,884 people for common assault, 5,993 for possess cannabis, and 13,900 for low range drink driving, but only a mere 58 people for the offence of escape lawful custody. So the point is stop worrying about escapees and start worrying about cannabis smoking, drunk drivers who may get out their car and belt you one.

However, in case you’re still reading this post, you may be wondering why I am writing this series. Well, despite the fact that people escape for all sorts of reasons, in all sorts of ways, and from all sorts of places, and despite the criminality of such acts, which of course should be heavily condemned and severely punished as a deterrent for other would-be escapees, some of the cases are really quite funny.

So over the next few days I will be listing what in my opinion are the Top 5 escapes from New South Wales Correctional Centres and providing a link to the corresponding judgment (from either the Supreme Court website itself, or a website called Austlii, an online free-access resource for Australian legal information). They will be listed not in order of seriousness, or on the length of time at large, or even on the ultimate penalty imposed, but they will be listed on the sole basis of enjoyment level, that is enjoyment to the reader.

So, before it escapes my attention, all I have to say is enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Hey Andrew, I really love the series on Great Escapes. More Legal blogging, it's a winner.

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