The West Australian Prison Officers Union has defended the action of two of its guards during an armed escaped of an inmate outside Fremantle Hospital in broad daylight.
Convicted armed robber Johnathan Sedman was being escorted by two guards to a medical appointment on Tuesday afternoon when they were confronted by a man armed with a shotgun.
It is alleged the gunman hit one of the guards in the head with the firearm before helping Sedman escape and flee in a waiting car being driven by a woman.
Sedman and his two accomplices were arrested after three hours on the run in the southern Perth suburb of Medina.
It has been revealed the guards parked in a public car park near the hospital and not on the hospital grounds.
WA Prison Officers Union (WAPOU) secretary John Welch said the officers — who were not armed — were following procedure and did nothing wrong.
“Yesterday was a shocking event and we are 100 per cent supportive of our members who we think were very brave in very difficult circumstances,” he said.
Mr Welch said it was the second escape of a prisoner from Fremantle Hospital since 1995, when convicted armed robber Brett Maston was freed by his girlfriend who was also armed with a shotgun.
Secure facility not being used at Fiona Stanley
He said the escape could have been avoided if Sedman was taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital.
“We understand that there is a secure facility which was built as part of the development of Fiona Stanley Hospital to allow prisoners to be held securely,” he said.
“It’s never been available to prison staff. We don’t know why and we don’t know why it hasn’t been functioning. We’ve never had the opportunity to see it.”
Mr Welch is calling for a review of procedures for prisoners who need treatment at public hospital.
“What we need to make sure is that we have at the centre of our minds the very difficult situation our two officers dealt with yesterday,” he said.
“But we need to look forward as well to make sure we have good policies and procedures to ensure the safety and security of the staff and the safety and security of the prisoners.”
Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan has been contacted for comment.
The trio was arrested about 5:30pm on Tuesday after police swooped on their vehicle on Thomas Road in Medina.
They were questioned by detectives at Rockingham before being taken to a holding cell to be charged with a range of offences including threats to kill and assaulting a public officer.
All three will appear in Perth Magistrate’s Court today.