Two officers had to chase an escapee on foot when he fled form arrest at Southside.
Two officers had to chase an escapee on foot when he fled form arrest at Southside.

Armed robber assaults cop and flees into Gympie bush

A CONVICTED armed robber who was being returned to prison by police escaped by assaulting an officer and running into bushland on Gympie's Southside earlier this year.

The escape was short-lived for Joe Daniel Johnson, Gympie Magistrates Court heard this week. He had escaped from a corrective services facility where he had six months to serve until his full release.

On August 9, with a return to prison warrant out for the 25-year-old, police visited his father's house at Rocks Road.

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They saw Johnson in the passenger seat of a car leaving the address.

When police arrested him he managed to free an arm and shove an officer in the chest before taking off into nearby bushland.

Five minutes later he appeared from the bush, staying about 10m from police and was calling out and questioning about why he was being arrested.

An officer dashed after him, catching him 100m into the scrub where they wrestled.

Johnson tried to lift the officer over his head and then escaped, running about 20m before he fell, where police handcuffed him.

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His lawyer Chris Anderson told the court Johnson knew he was being returned to custody and had escaped the arrest so he could plead for 24 hours to spend with his partner and stepchild.

He said his client had not been at large for long.

Magistrate Chris Callaghan sent the man to jail for four months for escaping custody.

"Escaping lawful custody is a serious offence, especially when you are escaping form a return to prison warrant," he told Johnson.

He was convicted of assaulting a police officer and obstructing police but not further punished.

Taking into account 107 days served, Mr Callaghan said Johnson would be eligible for parole on December 31, this year.

Gympie Times


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