No get out of jail free card
Father facing Christmas in custody after angry Centrelink ‘explosion’
THREE children will be without their father on Christmas Day after he was refused bail last week.
Luke Michael Otto, 24, appeared in Childers Magistrates Court after being charged with two counts of wilful and unlawful damage.
Otto allegedly became aggressive at Childers’ Centrelink office on Tuesday after a female staff member “spoke to (him) like crap”, before smashing a stereo speaker inside the office and punching through a front door window.
He tried to explain his outburst was a reaction to Centrelink apparently not depositing a payment to him on time and argued to Magistrate John Smith the outburst was not his typical behaviour.
“I’m not an angry person,” he reasoned. “I just had an explosion.”
The “explosion” was a costly one for Otto, but it was not as expensive as his decision to ignore a notice to appear at Nanango Magistrates Court on February 24.
Otto said he failed to attend court as he and his family had moved to Victoria to follow employment opportunities, working during the tomato harvest.
“I was 1600km away, sitting in a tractor from eight ’til eight every day,” Otto said.
Mr Smith ruled the 24-year-old failed to provide an adequate explanation for his no-show and fined Otto $500 for the indiscretion.
Otto’s previous non-appearance had more serious consequences when Mr Smith refused his application for bail.
“We don’t want you running away again,” Mr Smith said.
Otto unsuccessfully pleaded with Mr Smith to reconsider the decision to refuse bail and was escorted from the room by police.
“I’m not an angry person,” Otto said.
“I’ve grown up a bit, sir – I’ve had two kids since those (prior incidents).
“They didn’t pay us on time so we’ve fallen behind on rent.
“We’ve fallen behind on all of our payments.”
Outside court, Otto loudly continued to ask for the bail refusal to be overturned as he was handcuffed.
He is scheduled to appear at Childers Magistrates Court on January 23.