Darko 'Dougie' Desic: Sentence must be served, but the fight's not over

BEHIND BARS: Prison escapee Darko 'Dougie' Desic might be serving out the rest of his sentence, but his Avalon community is still keen to help. Picture: Supplied
BEHIND BARS: Prison escapee Darko 'Dougie' Desic might be serving out the rest of his sentence, but his Avalon community is still keen to help. Picture: Supplied

PRISON escapee Darko 'Dougie' Desic may be serving out the rest of his jail sentence, but the Avalon community have a home and job for him when he's released.

Desic, 64, appeared via video link at Central Local Court from Clarence Correction Centre, the jail near Griffith that he escaped from almost 30 years ago.

He had lived most of his life in Avalon since his escape before walking into Dee Why Police Station on September 12 to surrender. He was originally convicted for two counts of cultivating a prohibited plant and sent to jail for 3.5 years, but served just 18 months of his sentence before he escaped.

His lawyer Paul McGirr said Desic will serve out the rest of his original sentence, plus an additional two months for escaping.

"The result wasn't unfair, he faced a maximum 10 years for the escape," he said. "The magistrate appeared to sympathise with his position."

Mr McGirr will now seek clemency for Desic for his original sentence in the form of an intensive corrective order, community service or ankle bracelet.

The magistrate appeared to sympathise with his position.

Lawyer Paul McGirr

Border Force notified Desic he will deported upon his release, but Mr McGirr said his client, who is a Yugoslavian native, may be an Australian citizen.

"The initial instructions we had were that he was made a permanent resident back in 2008, even when they didn't know where he was," Mr McGirr said.

"The next issue is from where he escaped, being Yugoslavia, that country doesn't exist anymore. At the time he escaped it was under a war as well, and I understand that the village where he was from was heavily damaged and there were a number of casualties there.

"Hopefully common sense prevails and he can be given citizenship in Australia."

Mr McGirr said there has been an overwhelming amount of community support on the northern beaches since Desic handed himself into police.

"A lot of people on the northern beaches certainly support him as a valued member of the community, and secondly they've actually found him accommodation and a full-time job," he said.

A GoFundMe page set up by Avalon resident Belle Higgins to help Desic has so far raised more than $33,000.

Desic is due for release in December 29, 2022.

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