5 September 2023

Bank burglar allegedly tried to flee courtroom, breaking officer's wrist

| Albert McKnight
ACT Courts

William Shane Bushell pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to a burglary. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A man who apparently tried to break into a Commonwealth Bank ATM is now accused of trying to escape custody by attempting to flee a courtroom in front of custodial and police officers, breaking the wrist of one, when he was later refused bail.

William Shane Bushell, 33, pleaded guilty to the burglary and was handed charges over the alleged escape attempt when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday (5 September).

Police were told two men were breaking into the Commonwealth Bank in Civic in the early hours of 10 June 2023. Officers arrived to see one kneeling on the ground in front of an ATM and the second standing beside him, court documents say. One of the men was Bushell.

The pair were arrested and police found several tools on the ground, including screwdrivers and a pair of pliers, which officers believe were being used to break open the ATM.

On 24 July 2023, Bushell was brought before the Magistrates Court over unrelated charges.

“During discussions regarding bail involving the defendant’s legal representative, the prosecutor and the magistrate, the defendant at times interjected and spoke over the magistrate,” police claim in court documents.

It is alleged that when Special Magistrate Sean Richter was explaining why he would refuse bail, Bushell began “yelling angrily” at him.

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When bail was formally refused, Bushell allegedly stood up, turned around and quickly walked towards the public exit to the courtroom.

He allegedly pushed or brushed past two Correctional Services officers before two police officers, who were in the courtroom for an unrelated matter, seized him and took him to the ground.

It is also alleged he continued to resist being arrested before he was handcuffed and escorted from the courtroom.

Police claim one of the Corrective Services officers suffered a sore shoulder, resulting in her taking days off work to recover, while one of the police officers received bone fractures in his wrist.

In court on Tuesday, Bushell pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary over the bank incident, as well as to unrelated charges of trespass and minor theft.

He didn’t enter pleas to the charges he was handed over the alleged escape attempt, being four counts of resisting a public official and single counts of attempting to escape custody and assault.

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He applied for bail, but due to charges he faces he had to prove special or exceptional circumstances existed in his case to favour the granting of bail.

Legal Aid lawyer Steph Corish said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, had engaged with residential rehabilitation for the first time, and had considerable supports available for him in the community.

Special Magistrate Rebecca Christensen ultimately said she was not satisfied there were special or exceptional circumstances and refused bail, remanded him in custody and adjourned until 3 October.

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