Senior Police and Magistrate Hold Security Meetings At Southport Court

Queensland’s chief magistrate has backed a policy of allowing prisoners to face court without handcuffs following a dramatic escape on the Gold Coast last week.

William James Pedersen, 35, was appearing in the Southport Domestic Violence Court on Friday when he was refused bail then allegedly jumped the court dock.

Security locked down the courthouse and Peterson allegedly grabbed a pot plant and threw it at the glass doors in an attempt to escape.

He was not wearing handcuffs at the time due to a courthouse policy where defendants are only handcuffed if police make a special application to the magistrate.

Police were outraged over the incident and said the lack of security put officers at risk.

Chief Magistrate Ray Rinaudo released a statement this afternoon revealing that police had not made a special application to handcuff the man before the escape.

Mr Rinaudo also denied reports that applications to handcuff prisoners after the escape had been refused by magistrate Bernadette Callaghan.

“Three prisoners who appeared subsequently in the court before magistrate Callaghan were all handcuffed at her order,” he said.

Mr Rinaudo said the agreed protocol meant prosecutors had to make a special application to handcuff prisoners.

“I am assured that all magistrates including those at Southport are following this protocol.”

Senior Gold Coast police met with head magistrate Chris Callaghan earlier today to discuss the security stand-off at the Southport Court precinct.

A Gold Coast Bulletin report on Saturday revealed how a dangerous offender had his handcuffs removed during his appearance on Friday before escaping court.

Three officers crash tackled the man to the ground inside the court complex, all suffering minor injuries as a result.

Police had to respond to the chaotic escape without Tasers, batons or firearms after head magistrate Chris Callaghan banned officers taking them into the court complex.

The courts were busy with police today but the Gold Coast Bulletin understands no extra security was in place with most officers required to attend as witnesses.

A check of the court rooms found none of the offenders appearing were wearing handcuffs.

Source: The Gold Coast Bulletin.

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