It has been a troublesome 18 months for notorious Wodonga criminal Jack McLean: he spent seven months in custody for charges that were later dropped, got re-addicted to drugs in jail, then was on the run from police after breaching a corrections order.
After police issued warrants for his arrest back in May, the 28-year-old was finally located in Melbourne in October.
But he was given a chance on Tuesday in the County Court, where Judge Gerard Mullaly released him from custody and reduced the amount of unpaid work he must complete.
McLean pleaded guilty to breaching his community corrections order four times between April 16 and 21 this year, by not showing up for his required supervision and drug treatment.
The corrections order was punishment for charges of perverting the course of justice in 2017, when he lied to the judge about being in lockdown during riots in jail, where he was serving time for burglaries committed in the North East as part of the "T-shirt gang".
Crown prosecutor Peter Atkinson argued that McLean had enough chances and should be re-sentenced for his crimes.
"This is the third contravention of these orders," he said.
"It's not been an easy road, there's been difficulties all the way through."
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McLean's defence barrister Heather Anderson said McLean did not show up for his corrections appointments because he was settling in to a new home, as he had struggled to keep work in Wodonga due to publicity of his crimes.
"That's when he's moved to Melbourne, essentially trying to get away from Wodonga, from the issues that have followed him there and start again. Not the right thing to do of course," she said.
"In his view, the best way to stop the drugs and to get away from the negative associates was just to relocate."
She said the problems started during McLean's seven months of "dead time" in custody from July 2019.
He was accused of stealing more than $6000 from Wodonga TAFE's ATM, but was released when the charges were dropped.
"Your steps at rehabilitating were comprehensively interrupted," Judge Mullaly said.
"It would appear you gave up and took to using drugs that were available in prison.
"You came out of prison worse than when you went in."
He sentenced McLean to the 25 days in custody already served for breaching the corrections order, meaning he was eligible for release on Tuesday.
The number of work hours on McLean's order was also reduced from 180 down to 100, to reflect the extra punishment already served during the "dead time" in custody.
"You are committed to your family and do not want to be separated by custody again - that is entirely up to you," Judge Mullaly said.
"You must put drugs completely out of the picture, Mr McLean.
"I have said that to you three or four times in the past."
Mr Atkinson said McLean was also wanted for alleged crimes in NSW.
"If he was to be released by your honour today, it is their intention to immediately commence extradition proceedings," he said.