ACT News


Inmate bashed in AMC handed jail sentence for traffic offences

A Indigenous inmate who was viciously bashed while on remand in custody for multiple traffic offences has been sentenced in the ACT Magistrates court.

When sentencing Steven Freeman to 18 months in prison, Magistrate Peter Morrison said a jail term "weighed more heavily" on him than other inmates because of the attack.

Freeman, 24, nearly died when he was bashed at the Alexander Maconochie Centre last April, kept alive by prison officers, who performed first aid and resuscitated him.

A court later heard how a CCTV camera was turned away from the front of the inmate's cell before he was viciously bashed. 

Freeman faced court on multiple driving offences, including drink driving, being an unlicensed driver, riding an unregistered motorcycle and driving a stolen car.

He had pleaded guilty to each offence.


When sentencing Freeman, Mr Morrison noted the 24-year-old's "extensive criminal history" for his age, and said it was hard to accept he felt genuine remorse "except to the extent of feeling sorry" for himself.

However, the magistrate said it was necessary to take into account the attack, which meant a term of imprisonment would be harder on Freeman than on other prisoners.

Although Freeman was in protective custody, fear of his unknown attacker who might still be in prison alongside him would add to his stress, Mr Morrison said.

Despite this, imprisonment was the only appropriate sentence, he said.

Mr Morrison noted Freeman's youth, and said efforts towards rehabilitation should continue, although those efforts so far had a poor history.

He warned Freeman that if he continued to offend, the emphasis would shift away from rehabilitation and onto protection of the community.

Such a shift would mean longer and longer jail terms, the magistrate warned.

Freeman was sentenced to a total of 18 months imprisonment, backdated to April 27 to include the time already served. Mr Morrison suspended five months of the term.

Freeman was also disqualified from driving for three years, ordered to undertake 120 hours of community service and placed on a 12 month good behaviour order.

He will be eligible for release on March 26 this year.