A car thief who fled a Warrnambool court room and threw punches at two police custody officers has been labelled a "rat bag" by a magistrate.
Leigh James, 28, of Janlor Drive, Warrnambool, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to theft of a motor vehicle, wilfully ceasing to be in custody and driving-related offences.
He held back tears as magistrate John Doherty sentenced him to the 140 days he had already spent in custody on remand.
Mr Doherty said it was time James tidied up his act and became the man he used to be.
"While you're doing this you've got no hope," he said.
"You know what is right and what is wrong ... you're a ratbag.
"You've had your party but the party is over. It's finished."
Mr Doherty placed James on a six-month community corrections order, with conditions he undergo treatment and rehabilitation, and cancelled his licence for two years.
He credited James for attempting to turn his life around and helping people in custody that were worse off than him.
In 2018, James was observed driving on several occasions despite being on bail with a condition he not drive a motor vehicle, the court heard.
Then on July 17 he was approached by police officers at the Warrnambool corrections centre. He told them he had not been driving but then produced a set of keys that unlocked a nearby utility.
On October 20, James attended a Nullawarre property about 6.30pm and called out to the occupant, who immediately recognised his voice.
The victim was in the bathroom and called out for James to wait.
But James opened the front door of the house and picked up a set of keys before driving away in the victim's 2010 Holden Utility SV6 .
The car was located the following day near Bartons Road at Nullawarre.
The victim's keys, wallet and a Stihl chainsaw valued at $1500 were stolen from the vehicle.
A search warrant conducted at James' property on October 24 located the victim's wallet and the chainsaw.
He appeared in court in December and was denied bail after failing to show compelling reasons why he should be released from custody.
Police said a witness watched him do "walking fingers" to his partner who was sitting in the court.
He then jumped from the dock and ran from the courtroom, resulting in several officers chasing him down.
He resisted arrest and threw punches at two police custody officers.
He was eventually restrained and his partner was removed from the premises.
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