Lawyer rugby tackles client in court to foil escape bid

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By Judge John Hack on

Wallabies call-up must be next for a man who practises in one of the most exotic and remote parts of the world


Bookmakers may be quoting Australia’s rugby union side at a fairly tasty 5-1 for this autumn’s World Cup, but a lawyer from the Torres Straits Islands could improve country’s chances and narrow the odds.

Mark Savic — a local solicitor from the remote archipelago between the northern tip of Oz and New Guinea — tackled his own client as he was attempting to scarper from court having just been denied bail.

The story has flown round Australia, with the lawyer becoming something of a national sensation. Savic had just finished submitting a bail application for 19-year-old Jake Zachery Whyte, who was before the beak on property offences, when the accused decided to scarper.

According to a report in the Cairns Post, an official at the local magistrates’ court made an initial attempt to thwart Whyte’s bid for freedom, grabbing him by his shirt. But the teenager tore free and looked a dead cert to flee the building, when Savic sprang into action.

The amateur skydiver tackled the accused and held him on the floor until the police arrived with a set of handcuffs.

Admirably, the lawyer was able to put a creditable client-care spin on the story.

“My concern was that my client would just get himself into more trouble,” he told the newspaper. “It was in his best interest to surrender himself. It all happened so quickly. Hopefully, he can just get himself on the straight and narrow now.”

But it might take some period of reflection before Whyte comes round to that view. The newspaper reported that he was returned to court later, “after being charged in relation to the escape attempt with the serious assault of a public official and escaping lawful custody”.

Meanwhile, we look forward to seeing Savic at least on the bench for the Wallabies’ opener at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff against Fiji.