Prisoner: “I didn’t escape ’cause there’s no gates”
A MAN accused of fleeing custody told the court: "I didn't escape 'cause there's no gates".
Howard Kerry Lindsay appeared in the Mackay Magistrates Court via video link.
He was serving a seven-year jail sentence for growing $1 million worth of cannabis at a Mt Charlton property when he allegedly walked out of the Blackall Work Camp.
Lindsay's absence was discovered before the 6am head count on April 14.
He told Magistrate Damien Dwyer yesterday he'd had problems with his knee and he couldn't get it "sorted" and he'd also had a "nervous breakdown out there".
Lindsay is charged with one count of escaping lawful custody. If convicted, he could face a maximum penalty of seven years jail cumulative on any other sentence.
"Prosecution elects trial by indictment," Mr Dwyer said.
This means the matter will be committed to the District Court.
"Is it that severe?" Lindsay asked.
"Seven years just for walking away from a work camp?"
Lindsay was arrested on May 27 at a family property after Mackay police received information he'd been in the area for more than a week.
The 66-year-old was on bail for producing 13 cannabis crops at a Calen property in 2009 when police arrested him after finding more than 1500 seedlings at the Mt Charlton property.
When caught for the 2009 offences, he was on parole over crops found near Gympie and Tandur, involving about 12,000 immature plants.
Sergeant Sabine Scott said prosecution might be seeking to have the matter returned to the Blackall jurisdiction if it took a certain course. However, for now it would remain in Mackay.
Duty solicitor Chelsea Cross said Lindsay had put in an application for Legal Aid, but there was confusion over whether he was already represented by a Townsville lawyer.
The matter was adjourned for two weeks.