Es­cape bid quickly foiled

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

A de­fen­dant who leapt from the dock in­jured a po­lice of­fi­cer while try­ing to es­cape from the Porirua Dis­trict Court last Tues­day.

Zharn Craig Burns, 29, of Te Horo, jumped over a 1.5m- high dock wall, landed on a lawyers’ bench and ran for the door af­ter his ap­pear­ance in front of Judge Jan Kelly.

He was re­strained by half a dozen court se­cu­rity guards and po­lice of­fi­cers. It took them a full minute to hand­cuff Burns, who was thrashing vi­o­lently.

As he was dragged to the cells by four men, he scanned the court­room for his mother.

‘‘Where’s my mum? Tell Mum I love her,’’ he shouted to his sup­port­ers in the gallery.

Po­lice prose­cu­tor Sergeant Karen Vaughan was one of those who raced to halt Burns and was cut on her wrist when he landed on her arm.

Ms Vaughan said she had no­ticed Burns was act­ing strangely when he ap­peared in court, so was braced for un­pre­dictable be­hav­iour.

‘‘We were watch­ing him. As soon as he came out, I saw he had that wide-eyed look about him.’’

The court’s re­sponse to the in­ci­dent was ex­em­plary, she said.

‘‘The judge pressed the panic but­ton im­me­di­ately, so the po­lice sta­tion next door emp­tied out and of­fi­cers were halfway here by the time he was re­strained.

‘‘ Ev­ery­thing hap­pened ac­cord­ing to pro­ce­dure.’’

Burns was ap­pear­ing be­fore Judge Kelly to re­quest con­sent to change his de­fence lawyer.

He is fac­ing 15 charges re­lat­ing to bur­glar­ies on the Kapiti Coast. A charge of es­cap­ing cus­tody will be added.

He was re­manded in cus­tody and will ap­pear be­fore the court again on Au­gust 27.

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