Two men attempted to escape the holding cells of Grafton Local Court in January.
Two men attempted to escape the holding cells of Grafton Local Court in January.

Daring escape from Grafton holding cells

TWO men's ill-fated attempt at an escape from the holding cells of Grafton Courthouse after they were refused bail earlier this year has seen them both sentenced to time behind bars.

Seelands man Samuel Lynch, 28, and Lismore man Daniel Gordon Johnson, 42, both pleaded guilty to attempting to escape lawful custody in Grafton Local Court on Monday.

According to police facts tendered to court, on January 24 this year the two men appeared in court and were refused bail on unrelated charges.

While awaiting transfer to Grafton Correctional Centre, the pair requested to be placed in the same holding cell. Sometime later Lynch called out to the custody manager for assistance and requested to be placed in a cell on his own.

As the custody manager opened the cell door, Lynch pushed his way out of the cell, followed closely by Johnson, with the pair forcing their way past the custody manager and into the prison corridor.

Police in the main station area heard the custody manager's calls for help and went to investigate. They saw Lynch and Johnson running for the rear exit corridor near the prison van dock.

Police called out to them to stop before they drew their Tasers, one of which was discharged on Lynch as he ran towards them.

Lynch was immediately hit by the full charge of the Taser, which caused him to lose all muscle control and collide with a wall.

The custody manager was able to stop Johnson and escort him back to his cell without any further physical altercations.

In Grafton Local Court on Monday, Lynch's solicitor Michael Lantis said his client was coming down from the effects of methamphetamine and still struggling to handle the grief he felt over the death of his mother, three months prior.

Mr Lantis said the desperation of the situation made Lynch feel escaping was the only way he could support his family.

In Johnson's defence, his solicitor argued that he saw Lynch make a break for it, and in the heat of the moment made a decision to follow.

Johnson's solicitor said as soon as her client saw Lynch tasered and collapse, which caused a laceration on his head, he decided that escaping wasn't a good idea and made a decision to turn around and return to his holding cell and not resist police further.

Magistrate Karen Stafford said the charge of attempting to escape lawful custody was a serious offence, and said the sentence would need to act as a general deterrent against others from attempting a similar escape.

Ms Stafford sentenced Lynch to six months behind bars, while Johnson received eight months, with a non-parole period of six months. Johnson was also sentenced on a number of unrelated matters that occurred before his appearance in Grafton Local Court on January 24, the day of the attempted escape.