Tough break for ciggie-seeking inmate

Source: Daily Liberal

A man who broke both ankles trying to climb a wall inside a central western NSW prison  has been hauled over the coals in court.

Speaking in Dubbo Local Court, Magistrate Andrew Eckhold said Walter James Ebsworth had displayed repulsive behaviour and demonstrated a thoughtless attitude to the extent of his drug and alcohol problems.

"Your situation is sad to see but you are doing nothing to help yourself,'' the magistrate said.

"Prison is indicated.''

Ebsworth was confined to a wheelchair due to his injuries when he appeared in court via audiovisual link from Long Bay Corrections Centre.

The court heard the 23-year-old from Dubbo fell when he was trying to climb a wall at Wellington Corrections Centre to get cigarettes.

Guilty pleas were entered to charges of entering a building with intent to commit an indictable offence, failing to appear in court, behaving in an offensive manner and maliciously damaging property.

Police said Ebsworth threw an object at the front wall of a house for no apparent reason in January last year.

He entered a property when people were moving out of the Apollo Estate in August and the following month swore and made threats to police when they arrived at a party in Cobborah Road.

In October he was in trouble again for failing to appear in court in accordance with a bail undertaking.

The court heard Ebsworth had been part of the justice system from an early age and had started using alcohol and cannabis from age 14.

Reports tendered to the court indicated Ebsworth did not appreciate the extent of his substance abuse.

Magistrate Eckhold asked the Aboriginal Legal Service to enquire about a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program run by the Department of Corrective Services on a large beef farm in another part of the state.

"He needs something like that,'' the magistrate said.

The court was told offenders in the Dubbo area were not able to be accepted into the program due to the strict geographic catchment.

“That is very unfortunate,’’ the magistrate said.

“There is a lack of drug courts and rehabilitation programs in country areas.’’

Ebsworth was sentenced to one year in jail for entering the building with intent. A non-parole period of five months was set.

An additional one-month fixed jail term was imposed for failing to appear in court.

Magistrate Eckhold ordered both sentences to commence from November 21 (the date Ebsworth was taken into custody).

An 18-month good behaviour bond was imposed for damaging property.

Ebsworth received an additional 12-month bond for behaving in an offensive manner. 

He will be eligible for release on parole from April 20.

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