Mistaken identity: Hervey Bay police release wrong inmate

AN IDENTITY bungle resulted in the wrong prisoner being released from the Hervey Bay Police watchhouse the day before he was due to appear in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on break and enter and stealing charges.

It took Hervey Bay Police almost four days to find Michael Jason McKeon, who was found at a relative's home.

There were only two prisoners in the watchhouse when the identify mismatch happened.

A Queensland Police spokeswoman told the Chronicle the incident was being investigated by a senior officer from the Wide Bay Burnett District, and Ethical Standards Command had been informed.

"The Queensland Police Service takes this issue very seriously with an immediate investigation launched after a 29-year-old man was accidentally released from the Hervey Bay watchhouse on May 30," the spokeswoman said.

"The QPS has robust and stringent policies and processes in place regarding the management of watchhouses and prisoners. The accidental release of a prisoner is a very uncommon occurrence."

McKeon, 29, was returned to police custody on June 4. He pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Wednesday to a number of charges including escaping lawful custody and stealing.

He also pleaded guilty to a number of stealing, break and enter and breach of bail offences in 2009.

The court heard McKeon has previous convictions in New South Wales for offences relating to escape from custody.

Acting Magistrates Gary Finger sentenced McKeon to three months prison for the escape, to be served cumulatively to the 21 months Mr Finger sentenced him for breaking and entering. A parole date was set for January 4, 2016.

Topics:  court editors picks hervey bay jail

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