Johnston argued it was wrong to refuse him parole.
Johnston argued it was wrong to refuse him parole. John Weekes

Armed robber shows legal eagle skills in battle for parole

A TROUBLED 25-year-old prisoner has successfully fought a parole board decision despite having no help from lawyers.

Christopher Michael Johnston had a history of violent offences but said he was desperately trying to get help.

On Monday, he told a court he had done "terrible things to some innocent people”.

He added that he had schizophrenia and several close relatives had died in recent years.

In 2014 at Toowoomba, Johnston pleaded guilty to charges including armed robbery, assault occasioning bodily harm and unlawful possession of weapons.

Later, after learning his son had died, he smashed his Maryborough cell window and threatened prison officers.

He applied for release on parole but was refused last May.

The Central and Northern QLD Regional Parole Board said Johnston had committed disciplinary breaches in custody.

That board said Johnston had a history of drug abuse but had not finished the Pathways drug abuse course.

A Corrective Services report said Johnston's "attitude during sessions was volatile and highly dependent on his perception of whether or not he was getting his own way”.

Johnston, formerly of Goondiwindi, wanted the parole decision reviewed, and addressed Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday.

Justice Peter Davis said Johnston filed all the needed court papers for the hearing himself.

At Monday's hearing, Johnston admitted losing his temper with jail guards.

He told Justice Davis: "I haven't exactly shown good institutional behaviour. I need help out there.”

He maintained the decision to refuse parole was unreasonable.

Johnston's full-time release date is April 3, 2019.

On Friday, Justice Davis found the board should have considered the risk of releasing Johnston on that date "totally unsupervised”, or close to that date and only briefly supervised.

He said the board did not properly do so.

The supreme court judge quashed the regional board's 2017 decision.

Justice Davis said a law change last year meant the regional boards were dissolved.

So Johnston's application for parole was referred to the Parole Board Queensland to consider.

Johnston appeared by videolink on Friday for the judgment delivery.

After the judge explained his decision, Johnston replied: "All right, no worries, thank you Your Honour.” -NewsRegional


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