A Canberra man who was arrested more than eight months after failing to attend court claims he missed his scheduled appearance because he was "tied up and confined".
Harley Joe Douch, 25, avoided jail last week, when he was sentenced in the ACT Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to a charge of breaching bail.
Magistrate Peter Morrison imposed a three-month jail sentence, but suspended it immediately upon Douch entering into a 12-month good behaviour order.
Mr Morrison said Douch had been required to appear in court on February 7 last year so that he could be committed to the ACT Supreme Court. He had been due to be sentenced in that court for inflicting grievous bodily harm.
But Douch did not turn up, and court documents show a warrant for his arrest was issued.
The Gilmore man handed himself in at the Tuggeranong Police Station on October 22 last year, and was subsequently readmitted to bail.
Douch's lawyer, Taden Kelliher, told the ACT Magistrates Court that Douch had not turned up to the February 2019 court date because he had been "tied up and confined".
He said Douch had not reported this alleged incident to police because he had been worried for his safety.
Mr Kelliher said Douch claimed to be unsure how long he had been held against his will, but realised upon his release that he had missed his court date.
Because Douch feared he would go to jail for not answering his bail, he did not hand himself in to police at the first available opportunity.
When Mr Morrison asked whether the alleged confinement had been the result of a dispute about a drug deal, Mr Kelliher responded: "I believe it may have been, yes".
Mr Morrison said it was "difficult to accept" Douch's explanation in the absence of a police report or sworn testimony.
But he said he had been persuaded to suspend Douch's jail sentence for breaching bail by the fact the Gilmore man eventually handed himself in, and that he appeared to have complied with his bail conditions since he "came back into the system" in October.
Mr Morrison warned Douch that if he breached the terms of the suspended sentence order, he would almost certainly find himself serving the sentence behind bars.
The court heard Douch was yet to be sentenced on the infliction of grievous bodily harm charge.