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Gun charge for man who helped Postcard Bandit break out

Date

Steve Butcher

A man who once helped break out one of Australia's most notorious criminals from prison has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy and a gun charge in a Melbourne court.

Brendan Berichon in 1997 assisted Perth-born Brendon Abbott – infamously tagged the "Postcard Bandit" – and four other inmates to escape a maximum security Queensland jail in 1997.

A prosecutor had told a Brisbane court that Berichon had been groomed by Abbott for the elaborate escape plan.

The court heard in 2008 that Berichon tossed bolt cutters over a fence and fired at police and prison guards to keep them at bay to enable the escape.

Berichon later served nine years for the attempted murder of two Victorian transit police officers in April 1998 while he was on the run.

After serving that sentence, he was returned to Queensland to face charges over the prison breakout to which he pleaded guilty.

Berichon this morning appeared in Melbourne's County Court in custody when his case was adjourned until next Monday.

He and two other codefendants, who entered guilty pleas last week, are linked with other accused to a police operation that culminated in Berichon's arrest in Melbourne in July, 2011.

It was later alleged at a contested committal hearing that as members of the Victoria Police special operations group moved to arrest Berichon and others, he threw a handgun from a car in Ringwood.

He pleaded guilty on February 1 to a charge of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm from one incident.

Berichon originally faced charges, now no longer proceeding, that included aggravated burglary and causing injury offences.

A magistrate had refused him bail in 2011 on grounds that he posed too great a risk to the community.

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