A handyman, who surrendered himself to police custody in Australia after escaping from prison for 30 years, is now in legal limbo. He was told that he will be deported at his sentence’s end.
Darko Desic, 64 escaped Grafton jail in New South Wales, Australia using a hacksaw & boltcutters to avoid being sent back to war-torn Yugoslavia.
Then he went on the run for thirty years, before surrendering to police during the coronavirus epidemic. He was then informed by a letter that he would be expelled at the end his sentence.
It is not clear where he will be sent, however, Yugoslavia having ceased to exist in 1992 as a country.
Desic spent the next thirty years on the run, living a double lifestyle as a cash-inhand handyman for wealthy Sydney residents. He was known as “Dougie” during this time.
Desic remained under the radar for decades because he never went to a dentist or saw a doctor. He even pulled out his own teeth.
However, the coronavirus pandemic shattered his double life and he was left homeless and sleeping on a beach.
Darko ‘Dougie” Desic, a beloved Sydney handyman, fled for nearly 30 years to avoid deportation. Covid left him homeless. But he is still scheduled to be expelled from the country.
He surrendered to police as winter approached and torrential rain poured down on Sydney in August.
Desic pleaded guilty Thursday to escaping lawful custody and was sentenced for two months more in jail
Paul McGirr, his defence solicitor, revealed that Desic was sent a letter by the Australian Border Force advising him that he would be deported at the conclusion of his sentence.
His legal team promised to stop the deportation as soon as possible.
McGirr stated that he and other people will fight for him because he believes it’s not Australian to kick someone down when they’re down.
‘Bearing this in mind, he doesn’t still have Yugoslavia as his country of origin.
“He’s a beloved member of the community, he’s one among us, and we’re going on to fight for him.
“Hopefully someone with some common sense will look at it and say that. I don’t think this letter was generated automatically.
Avalon residents supported his cause after learning his incredible backstory and funded a defence campaign that would keep him in Australia and get his feet back on the ground.
Darko Desic, 64 (pictured in 1992), broke out from Grafton jail nearly 30 years ago using a boltcutters and a hacksaw to avoid being sent back to war-torn Yugoslavia.
Desic pleaded guilty to escaping from lawful custody and was returned to prison where he is serving the rest of his original jail term on a drugs charge.
Desic had already served 19 months of a minimum term of 33 months before his escape. If clemency fails, he will remain behind bars until December 2022.
McGirr stated that the attorney-general and governor general have made a plea for leniency in order to serve a community orphanage instead.
In the Central Local Court on Thursday, Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson acknowledged Desic had been a battler but said her hands were tied.
She said, ‘He chose tools and broke out of the custodial center.’ “I understand that he had real fears about what might happen.
Mr McGirr told the court that Desic feared he would be returned to Yugoslavia in 1992 ‘as a deserter, or put on their frontlines… it was almost a genocide.
“This is a man with 30 years of blemish-free living. He didn’t have Medicare, he had to remove his teeth himself, and he has never seen a doctor.
“He’s had this hanging above his head for all these years, not knowing when someone will knock… someone coming across sand dunes and arresting him
“In some way, the sentence has been completed.”
Paul McGirr, Defence solicitor (pictured), revealed that Desic had received a letter from the Australian Border Force advising him that he would be deported at the conclusion of his sentence
His coastal community had come around to ‘love, respect’ him so much that a crowdfunding campaign was launched to raise $30,000 for his legal bills as well as housing needs.
Prosecutor Scott Williams said the case evoked a ‘romantic idea’ of Australian larrikinism’ and escape from custody, and needed a full-time custodial sentence.
He stated that this was necessary to ensure that other inmates who were contemplating breaking out would know they would be punished no matter how long they are held captive.
Desic was sentenced to a maximum of 10 years imprisonment under the 1992 laws that he escaped.
Magistrate Atkinson sentenced him to two additional months in prison. He said: “You have had a very difficult time over the years, but I have a work to do.”