Courtroom sprinter gets extra jail time

September 4, 2017 | By More

A woman has been given an extra month in jail for what a judge called her “in your face escape” – bolting from the court room during her sentencing.

Nikita McCausland, 29, said she panicked and sprinted from the dock in the No 2 District Court when she realised she was not going to get the home detention sentence she was expecting.

The escape happened in front of Judge Gary MacAskill, police, court staff, and media on June 21. She got past court escort staff because they had stepped aside in preparation for ushering McCausland into custody.

McCausland got out into the corridor but ran past the exit doors and into the customer service area before “ghosting” through a door behind a staff member who happened to be leaving.

She was brought down in a tackle on the hard surface of the courtyard just outside by a woman Court Security Officer.

After she was frog-marched brought back into court that day, Judge MacAskill jailed her for two years one month for perverting the course of justice for getting another woman to do her community work, as well as receiving two stolen laptops, possession of firearm ammunition, possession of a pipe for smoking methamphetamine, and dangerous driving.

Defence counsel Sunny Teki-Clark said today the escape was not contemptuous behaviour, but arose because McCausland panicked when she realised she was being jailed, because she had not made arrangements for the care of her daughter.

He urged that a concurrent sentence be imposed, which would not have added to her current jail time.

But Judge John Strettell disagreed. He said it was “an in your face escape”, and there needed to be a deterrent penalty to encourage people to co-operate when they were being dealt with by the court system.

He said an escape in front of the court itself was unusual – he could only recall it happening one other time in his many years as a judge.

The cumulative one-month sentence means that McCausland will have to serve extra time before she can be considered for release by the Parole Board. She is also appealing the jail sentence she received.

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