A man who tried to escape custody twice, including once inside a courtroom where he also threw a tissue box at a magistrate before being tackled, is now free again after having his appeal largely upheld.
Elliot John Fleet, 32, was sentenced by the ACT Magistrates Court in April this year to 28 months in jail for eight charges stemming from four sets of offending.
Fleet had pleaded guilty to two counts of trying to escape custody and one count each of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, exposing a child to cannabis, contempt of court, resisting a public official, minor theft and driving while disqualified.
A July 28 judgment states that on January 7, police went to the place Fleet was residing at where they held his arm, but he broke free and ran.
He caused a police officer to fall to the ground, suffering a bruise to her arm, before being arrested only 50m away.
One day later when he was in court when bail was refused, he threw a tissue box at Special Magistrate Margaret Hunter before trying to escape by running towards the door.
Corrective Services officers and a police officer had to stop him with the latter tackling Fleet to the ground.
He yelled: "I didn't f---ing do anything."
Fleet threatened to bite one of the people restraining him and urged the court to "guess" what he would do if the officers took him down to the cells.
After he was escorted away, the police officer used an ice pack to nurse his knee.
In August 2020, Fleet smacked a girl with photos tendered to the court showing bruising.
In February of that year, he drove while disqualified to Gungahlin Club where he used bolt cutters to steal a secured bike.
Fleet had appealed the sentence, arguing that it was manifestly excessive and that the magistrate had failed to consider a sentence that reflected the overall criminality of the offending and failed to consider Fleet's subjective circumstances.
In his judgment, Justice John Burns upheld Fleet's appeal in relation to all the offences except for exposing a child to cannabis and contempt of court in which a fine of $6000 was also imposed for both.
"I have reached the conclusion that this appeal must succeed with regard to the ground alleging that the Magistrate failed to take into account the appellant's subjective circumstances," Justice Burns said.
He said "considerable amount of material", including a mental health brief and reference letters, regarding Fleet's circumstances were placed before the magistrate but unfortunately none of that was referred to.
Justice Burns said the attempt to escape custody in court was "more serious" because it was during proceedings.
"It undoubtedly would have occasioned an upheaval within the courtroom and a disturbance to the proceeding," he said.
"In my opinion, however, it did not justify the sentence of 15 months' imprisonment imposed by the magistrate."
Fleet was re-sentenced to full-time jail from December 7 last year to July 27.
He has been released to a good behaviour order for 12 months.
Justice Burns said the time Fleet had already served went towards paying the fines.
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