Reckless jumper gets probation
A MAN who caused panic by leaping from the Bradfield Bridge into the raging torrent of the Bremer River has been put on probation.
Christopher George Thomas Keegan made the startling jump into the flooded river on December 28 as witnesses begged him not to.
Keegan, 25, was captured on Safe City cameras climbing over the barrier of the newly constructed pedestrian walkway about 10am, stretching out his arms and then leaping from the bridge into the murky water, eight metres below.
Several panicked witnesses called triple-0, fearing for his life.
Police rushed into action but Keegan swam to the riverbank and emergency services were not required to rescue him.
Keegan was walking along a wooden bridge, sopping wet and shirtless, when officers arrived and handcuffed him.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Brad Dick told Ipswich Magistrates Court that the potential for disaster was huge.
“There was a high probability of serious injuries or even death by this breathtakingly stupid act,” Snr Cnst Dick said.
“The water was flowing very quickly.”
Snr Cnst Dick said numerous hazards from the River Heart Parkland were submerged, with the roofs of some structures only just visible.
The offence was committed only days after Keegan was placed on probation for unrelated offences.
Keegan pleaded guilty to committing an unregulated high-risk activity and also faced court for dishonesty-related offences, pleaded guilty to unlawful entry of a vehicle, fraud and shoplifting.
The court heard Keegan stole a GPS and iPod from an unlocked car at Raceview in September and pawned the music player a few weeks later. He also stole noodles and tuna from a service station.
Snr Cnst Dick said Keegan had exhausted the court's sentencing options, as he had been given community-based orders, probation and even an intensive correction order.
“Imprisonment is well within range,” he said.
But Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said Keegan should be given another chance on probation as he had not had enough time to receive intervention on his most recent order.
Keegan was fined $450 and placed on 18 months' probation.
Defence lawyer Yassar Khan said his client had been taking prescription drugs at the time.
“Ultimately the only danger to anyone was to my client – no one had to enter the water to rescue him,” Mr Khan said.
“He wasn't trying to be a daredevil ... it was as a result of trying to self-harm.”
Mr Khan said his client was now receiving help from Ozcare.
Lifeline's national 24-hour crisis support line is 13 11 14.