Accused burglar denied bail after fleeing from custody

THE man who led police on a five-hour manhunt after escaping arrest on Tuesday had broken free of custody before, a court has heard.

Grant Kelly, 20, appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday, where he was refused bail.

Along with two alleged accomplices, the Wendouree man is accused of conducting a jewellery heist at Allan Brothers Jewellers on Monday morning, before escaping arrest and sparking a massive police manhunt on Tuesday.

Appearing in the dock in handcuffs yesterday, Kelly initially had his hearing stood down after magistrate Fiona Stewart expressed concern over that fact the accused was bound by handcuffs.

He had escaped from police on Tuesday, as well as another separate incident almost three years ago.

Police argued it was too much of a risk not to handcuff the accused and the hearing eventually continued.

Kelly was flanked by three police officers, one of whom remained standing throughout.

In giving evidence, Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Steve Murphy said that at 3.42am on Monday, Kelly and two others smashed their way into Allan Brothers Jewellery store on Sturt Street.

He told the court the trio  escaped with a range of different gold jewellery items.

Detective Murphy said when police attended a Wendouree address on Tuesday, Kelly denied being involved in the burglary and escaped arrest.

The court heard Kelly jumped the back fence, avoiding capture for more than five hours.

Detective Murphy opposed bail, declaring Kelly an “unacceptable risk” to society.

Defence lawyer Robert Tyson sought bail. He argued there was no proof that it was his client who committed the burglary.

Mr Tyson said the police were charging Kelly based on the fact he was wearing similar clothing to what was visible through CCTV footage.

Ms Stewart denied bail, declaring Kelly a danger to society.

Kelly is facing four charges relating to the alleged theft and a further three charges.

He is due to reappear in court on March 18.