19YO man flees court

SPENDING his 20th birthday in jail was not an appealing prospect for Clifford Portch-Wotton.

So unappealing, in fact, that he decided to make a run for it from the Maryborough Magistrates Court.

The 19-year-old made a brief appearance on his charge of breaching a domestic violence order, during which duty solicitor Tammy Kerle was informed he was on a suspended jail term and faced a stint in prison.

Ms Kerle asked for the case to be stood aside so she could take further instructions from her young client.

Half an hour later Ms Kerle appeared at the bar table again – minus her defendant.

Portch-Wotton had fled on foot and reportedly made it several kilometres before being found by a female relative, who convinced him to return to court.

The third time his name was called Portch-Wotton appeared and pleaded guilty to the charge.

The court was told he breached the domestic violence order by attending the home of the female respondent, who lived on the Sunshine Coast, on February 3.

While the charge in itself did not appear serious, Portch-Wotton was already on a suspended jail term and a probation order for offences including assault occasioning bodily harm and wilful damage.

Ms Kerle said Portch-Wotton would turn 20 in a couple of weeks and had a genuine fear of being incarcerated.

“Earlier today he did go slightly astray,” she said.

“It’s a lot to take on board for someone who is only 19 years old.”

Magistrate John Smith was not impressed with Portch-Wotton’s disappearing act and said he had no option but to invoke the three-month suspended sentence.

Mr Smith also sentenced him to an additional two-month jail term for breaching the domestic violence order.

Portch-Wotton will be eligible for parole on April 23.

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