Police get their man after 28yrs
JUST as The Fugitive discovered, there is no escaping the long arm of the law.
And so it was for 46-year-old Michael Stanley Knox, for whom police have been searching for 28 years.
Knox appeared in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court yesterday facing two outstanding charges from 1982 – when he was just 19 years old.
He was picked up by traffic branch police on Boat Harbour Drive at Torquay on Wednesday after allegedly returning a breath test reading of .161.
Subsequent checks by police showed Knox was wanted for failing to appear in a Brisbane court on June 17, 1982.
He was due to face an arson charge, accused of setting fire to a Yamaha motorbike and two chairs in a garage at Wooloowin on April 5, 1982.
“It just goes to show the law never goes away, Mr Knox,” Magistrate Graeme Tatnell told him.
“You’re not going to fail to appear this time?” To which Knox replied: “No, sir.”
Speaking to the media after being released on bail, Knox said he had simply forgotten about the outstanding charges.
“They said ’82.
“I said: ‘What the hell happened back in 82? I can’t even remember back that far.’”
Police said they had five different names for Knox in their computer system.
He originally went by Michael Stanley, then became Michael Connors and had several other names before legally changing it to Knox in 2006.
Senior Constable Andrew Self of Hervey Bay CIB said a new police computer system implemented about 18 months ago was able to bypass name discrepancies.
“It’s a very data specific system,” Snr Const. Self said.
“There were five different variations of his name on the system (and) it would have linked them all together based on his date of birth and where he was born.
“It is (unusual) to be evading police for this amount of time,” Snr Const. Self said.
“It is a long time but it just goes to show that these warrants do stay in existence.
“It doesn’t just go away, the same with traffic fines, everything. It just stays in the system.”
Solicitor John Milburn said Knox, a qualified environmental scientist, had not appeared in court in 1982 because he had feared for his safety.
He believed the alleged victim of the arson, the bike’s owner, to be a “member of a certain club” who had “connections in custody”.
Knox was fined $500 for the breach of bail and a conviction was not recorded due to his lack of criminal history.
He will reappear in court on March 11.