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Man runs from court to escape prison sentence

Police are searching for a 25-year-old man who ran out of Magistrates' Court yesterday after he was ordered to spend ten days in jail for driving while disqualified.

Howard Ascento, of Smith's, managed to evade security, escaping the building after Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner handed down the sentence for repeatedly committing the offence.

Ascento took several steps backward into the gallery of the courtroom as Mr Warner read the sentence. He then turned suddenly and sprinted through two sets of doors into the hallway, leaving his attorney standing alone before the magistrate.

Police officer Angela Cox, who was in the courtroom, pursued Ascento and could be heard shouting down the hall after him. She returned to the courtroom several minutes later, telling Mr Warner that security failed to stop the man.

There are security guards posted outside the second-floor courtroom and by the ground floor main entrance.

The Town Hill Road resident had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts each of driving an unlicensed and uninsured vehicle, driving without a driver's licence and driving while disqualified.

He said he did not know he was off the road and could only get to work on his motorcycle.

Ascento's attorney Rick Woolridge asked Mr Warner for leniency, citing his client's responsibilities to his four children and his work at the garage he co-owns.

“He apologises to the court,” Mr Woolridge said. “He will not put himself in this position again.”

Mr Warner said Ascento had “callously and contemptuously put himself in this position”.

“You must have respect for the laws,” he added.

Ascento was fined $2,700 for the eight offences in addition to the ten-day prison sentence.

As of yesterday afternoon, police had not yet located Ascento.

“Around 11am on Friday, September 6, 25-year-old Howard Ascento fled Magistrates' Court on foot, despite the efforts of police officers and security personnel to detain him, after he was sentenced for several traffic offences,” a police spokesperson said.

“Mr Ascento is not a threat to the public; however police officers, as well as the relevant authorities, are actively attempting to locate him,” the spokesperson said.

“Anyone with any information on his whereabouts is encouraged to contact the main police telephone number 295-0011 at the earliest opportunity.”

Howard Ascento

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Published September 07, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 06, 2013 at 11:45 pm)

Man runs from court to escape prison sentence

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