Why did a former oil executive escape from an Australian jail?
The story of an escaped Australian oil executive, who had been on the run from Australia’s highest court, has received global attention and the support of his Australian legal team.
It is the story of a case in which the fugitive and his legal team were granted bail and released from a federal jail on Tuesday night after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.
The fugitive, an oil executive and former chief executive of a major Australian oil company, had pleaded not guilty to murder charges but he has now pleaded guilty on multiple counts.
The Australian Federal Police said it had charged three men with conspiracy to kill.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, the AFP said the fugitive was in custody.
“He has been detained in Brisbane Police custody,” an AFP spokesperson said.
“The AFP will be providing further updates at a later date.”
What happened to the fugitive?
Mr Justice Thomas said the man, a former chief executives of several oil companies including the world’s largest oil producer, was not in custody because of the “risk to the public”.
“I consider this a matter for the AFP, which is not in the business of trying to solve criminal cases,” Mr Justice Tomlinson said.
He said the case could take years to resolve and he would not be drawn on whether he would refer it to the AFP.
What are the charges?
Mr Tomlotti said that the three men had been arrested in December 2016 and that the court had accepted a plea of not guilty.
“In the course of its proceedings, the court accepted a case on a number of counts, including conspiracy to murder, assault with intent to murder and conspiracy to kidnap,” he said.
The three men were sentenced in January to 12 years and four months in prison for the offences.
Mr Tomlay said he would consider whether to refer the case to the Supreme Court of Australia.
“I will certainly consider whether the case should go to the High Court,” he told the ABC’s AM program.
The court has already heard arguments about whether the accused should be extradited to the United States to face charges in the death of his wife, whose body was found in a creek in New South Wales in January 2016.
What happens next?
A spokeswoman for Mr Justice John Tomlott said the hearing had not been delayed and he was confident it would be resolved in a matter of days.
Mr Justice Simon said the men had pleaded guilty because of their “desire to flee Australia”.
“It is my view that the circumstances of this matter have changed significantly from the original charges, so it is in the public interest for them to be tried in Australia,” he wrote in a court ruling.
“This has not and will not affect the outcome of the trial.”
Mr Tomlan, the lawyer for the fugitive, said the charges were “highly unusual and in the case of a murder charge, extremely serious”.
He said that after the case had been heard, he had been contacted by a number people in Australia who were urging him to seek legal advice about the extradition.
“They were distressed at the outcome,” Mr Tomlin said.