HIGH-VIS: Damian Cartledge walked 'free' from an Ipswich court - but is a prisoner.
HIGH-VIS: Damian Cartledge walked 'free' from an Ipswich court - but is a prisoner. Ross Irby

Nonchalant robber will cycle on after court

CONVICTED robber Damian Cartledge is a prisoner walking, and push bike riding, after he reoffended while on a suspended jail sentence for a robbery.

Dressed in high-vis Damian Matthew Cartledge, 23, pleaded guilty in Ipswich District Court to a breach of his suspended sentence.

He drove while his licence was disqualified by the courts. He now says he rides a push bike.

The sentence of 18-months jail was suspended when imposed in March 2018 for his robbery of a taxi driver at knife point.

Crown prosecutor Noel Needham said $470 cash was stolen, with Cartledge acting in company at the time.

But on August 3, five months after the sentence was handed down, Cartledge was caught driving a Ford Falcon at 2.45pm when disqualified by court order. He gave police no reason for his driving.

Mr Needham said it was an unlike offence to the robbery and the Crown sought for only part of the suspended sentence to be activated and that Cartledge be placed on parole.

"What do you want to tell me, I notice you are in high-vis gear," queried Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC as Cartledge stood, representing himself in the matter.

"Yes I was on my way home from work," said Cartledge.

"It was an act of absolute stupidity," Judge Horneman-Wren told him.

"You need to understand that it's no excuse at all.

"It is very different to the serious armed robbery you did. It is concerning it was done so soon."

Cartledge assured him he no longer drove - "No I bought a push bike".

Judge Horneman-Wren, who had previously sentenced him for the robbery offence, said he would activate three months of the suspended sentence and place Cartledge on immediate parole.

He activated the three months with parole and made sure Cartledge understood the reality of his position.

"I want to impress upon your young mind the seriousness of it," he said.

"It will be hanging over your head until March 2020.

"And if you find yourself here again you will get no sympathy from me or others as a consequence.

"The effect is, you are as of this moment a prisoner.

"You are serving a prison term. It's just that I've allowed you to serve it in the community.

"Understand this if you mess up again you don't get to come back before a Judge.

"It will be the parole board who decide.

"That means you will be a prisoner in a prison."

Judge Horneman-Wren went on to give Cartledge a strongly worded warning about not going near a car to drive, or use drugs as his urine would likely be tested.