Escape From Custody (ACT)
In the ACT, offences relating to escape from custody are governed by the Crimes Act 1900. These are serious offences that can attract lengthy terms of imprisonment. This page deals with escape from custody offences in the ACT.
What is custody?
A person is in custody if they have been placed under arrest or if they are in prison or detention. This includes detention in a watch house, in a correctional facility and in transit between places of detention.
What is escape?
A person is said to have escaped if they have become free from the person or place that was restricting their freedom. To be found guilty of an escape offence, a person must have known that they were not free to leave and must have consciously and deliberately withdrawn from custody.
Aiding prisoner to escape
Under section 159 of the Crimes Act 1900, a person who aids another person to escape or attempt to escape from custody, arrest or detention, or who takes anything into a place of detention with intent to facilitate the escape of someone who is detained, commits an offence punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 100 penalty units.
Under section 160 of the Crimes Act 1900, a person who has been lawfully arrested or is in custody or detention for an offence and escapes commits an offence punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to 100 penalty units, or both.
Rescuing a prisoner from custody
Under section 161 of the Crimes Act 1900, a person who rescues another person by force from arrest, custody or detention, commits an offence punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment.
Person unlawfully at large
Under section 162 of the Crimes Act 1900, a person who leave custody or detention with permission but fails to return without a reasonable excuse commits an offence punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a fine of 100 penalty units, or both.
Under section 163 of the Crimes Act 1900, a police officer or prisoner officer who is in charge of the arrest, detention or custody of a person and wilfully or negligently permits them to escape is guilty of an offence punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a fine of 100 penalty units, or both.
Pleading guilty to escape from custody
A person who has been charged with an escape from custody offence should seek legal advice before pleading guilty. Before deciding to plead guilty, the following matters should be considered:
- The strength of the prosecution case
- Whether there are any available defences
- The likely penalty range for the accused with their circumstances and criminal history
A person who had been charged with an escape from custody offence may have a defence available to them. This may include:
- That their actions did not amount to escape; or
- That their custody was not lawful.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.