Mark Westergaard was on the run, in fear for his life, and reckoned giving his dope stash to the Albury cops would keep him out of harm’s way thanks to a likely long stint in jail.
It didn’t. Handing in the bag of cannabis that police otherwise knew nothing about meant he got a little reward from the courts. He’s going to have his freedom far earlier than he might have hoped.
The 53-year-old has been tucked-up away in Junee jail since soon after that night of August 7 when he parked his car, with a trailer on the back, out the front of the Albury police station.
Westergaard, who is from the Castlemaine area, told police at the time how “there are people following me and I think they want to kill me”.
Magistrate Michael Crompton said Westergaard’s highly unusual actions meant that while jail was non-negotiable, his time behind bars would be restricted to a two-month fixed term.
And so by early October Westergaard will be enjoying the liberty he previously was too frightened to endure any longer .
Westergaard showed no emotion – he certainly didn’t look delighted, in his prison greens with reading glasses tucked into the top of his windcheater – when he learned of his sentencing discount via a video link between Albury Local Court and the jail.
Defence solicitor Rohan Harrison said in court on Tuesday that Westergaard had already spent 37 days in custody.
“We will be asking for his release in the very near future.” Mr Harrison said that in Westergaard’s favour were his early guilty plea – to a charge of supplying an indictable quantity of cannabis – and most importantly, the handing in of the green plastic bag containing cannabis weighing 310 grams.