A MAN who has spent most of his adult life in prison has been granted bail after a Tamworth court was told he finally had support systems in place.
Leon Prince appeared via video link for his bail hearing on Wednesday and family members supported him in court, as his lawyer advocated for him to be released from custody.
The court heard the 21-year-old had been in and out of prison, but for the first time in his life, had recently been able to access a support coordinator and NDIS funding.
Aboriginal Legal Service solicitor Gemma Ridley said there had been a systematic "failure" to look after Prince - who has a number of medical conditions - and it had finally been rectified.
Prince was released from jail in February but was arrested again in March while on parole after he was pulled over in Tamworth in the early morning and allegedly found to be in possession of a knife and knuckledusters.
Miss Ridley said she disputed some of the police facts, and told the court her instructions said Prince actually had a double-banded ring and not knuckledusters.
Magistrate Julie Soars read defence submissions during the bail review, including two medical reports.
"He's a young man with a need for rehabilitation and support in the community, and has now got all the services lined up to provide that," Ms Soars said of Ms Ridley's submissions.
Ms Soars addressed Prince in court, asking him whether he would agree that he wanted to live in the community and seek help for his conditions.
He's a young man with a need for rehabilitation and support in the community, and has now got all the services lined up to provide that.Magistrate Julie Soars
"He is wanting not to have a life in and out of custody ... is that what you're telling me Mr Prince?" she said.
"Yes, that's what I am telling you, miss," Prince replied.
Ms Soars granted Prince strict bail to live in Tamworth, and the 21-year-old must steer clear of some areas; not contact any prosecution witnesses in his case; attend medical appointments; not drink alcohol or take drugs that aren't prescribed; obey all reasonable directions from his support staff; and not commit any offences, among a number of other strict conditions.
Ms Soars said Prince had a chance to "stay out of trouble" for the "first time in a very long time".
Police prosecutor Sergeant Rebecca Skivington opposed the bail application, and said police were concerned about the seriousness of the alleged offences.
The police case is that Prince was stopped by officers on Scott Road just after 5am on March 31.
He was charged with custody of a knife in a public place; possessing or using a prohibited weapon without a permit; and goods in personal custody suspected of being stolen.
Prince has not been required to enter pleas to the charges, but has been in custody since his arrest.
Sergeant Skivington said the alleged offences were "aggravated" and Prince was on parole at the time.
"The prosecution also has concerns about community safety," she said.
She said it was a "big concern" that Prince was accused of driving around at that early hour with weapons and suspected stolen goods in the car.
She said police were concerned with the risk of Prince failing to appear at court; as well as community safety concerns; and he posed a risk of committing further serious offences while on bail.
But, Ms Ridley argued "nothing was in place" to support the young man when he was released in February, and it was now a different story.
She said for someone who had spent most of their adult life behind bars, it was important for Prince to "learn how to operate in the community".
Ms Soars said she had "some sympathy" for Prince given his solicitor's submissions.
"Not to disparage ... Mr Prince, but he could be someone who could potentially be easily led," she said.
She said he "won't last long" on bail if he got back in touch with "negative influences", but said she could see his mother and another family member sitting in court and expected they would also help keep him out of trouble.
Prince was granted bail and will front court again later this month.
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