‘Couch surfing’ rapist drifts out of parole board’s sight
A CONVICTED rapist who failed to report to his parole officers gave "couch surfing" as an official address in behaviour a magistrate has described as "sinister".
Aaron John Leslie Bunt, who in 2016 was convicted on three rape charges and sentenced to four years prison, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a reporting order.
Noosa Magistrates Court heard the 28-year-old failed to comply with the conditions to provide a known address between November 26, 2019 and February 14, 2020.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Angela Johnstone said it was a "serious matter" as Bunt was a reportable offender.
"Since April 2, 2019 he was obligated to provide an address where he lives," Sgt Johnstone said.
"On 26th November he contacted his Sunshine Coast case manager and advised he was couch surfing in Gympie.
"He was told he needed to provide specific details and that (couch surfing) was not enough."
The court heard several text messages and calls were made to Bunt during that period with no answer.
"On 14th of February he advised he was spending his time between Cooroy, Noosa and Coolum but did not supply anything more specific," Sgt Johnstone said.
Police located Bunt at a Tewantin address on February 19 where he confirmed he had been told couch surfing was not sufficient and admitted he had been non-compliant in providing the correct details.
He informed police he had been sleeping in bushland at Peregian Springs and near Noosa Marina during that period.
"We're unable to verify his movements or where exactly he lived between those dates," Sgt Johnstone said.
"It's unknown whom he had contact with in that time and if where he was staying did contain vulnerable people."
When asked by Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist if he had anything to say, Bunt replied: "I just didn't have an address to give at that time, that's all. I now have an address".
Sgt Johnstone said Bunt had been serving a two-year suspended sentence for two previous failures to report from June last year, when it was understood he had resided in a house with two teenagers.
Mr Stjernqvist described Bunt's behaviour as "sinister".
"Every fail of yours to report a change in your situation, given you're a reportable offender for three rapes - the head sentence on the first is four years, it views as sinister," he said.
"Every single fail of yours will be viewed by anyone as sinister."
Bunt asked the court for forgiveness fearing a return to jail.
"Your Honour, I'm very, very remorseful for what I've done," he said.
"I've been trying to do the right thing ever since I've been out, I do not wish to go back to jail."
In an unrelated matter, Bunt was also sentenced for carrying a used syringe on March 11.
The court heard detectives from Noosa Child Protection Investigation Unit approached Bunt on Hilton Tce, Tewantin, at 8.40pm.
"They were aware by his demeanour he was under a the influence of an unknown substance," Sgt Johnstone said.
"He told detectives he recently used drugs and voluntarily produced a used syringe and needle from a satchel bag."
"He said he put it in his bag earlier and didn't have a sharps container to dispose it."
Bunt pleaded guilty to failing to take responsible care in respect to a syringe.
He was convicted and sentenced to two months prison for the possession of the syringe.
For failure to report, he was convicted and sentenced to six months prison and was ordered to serve his suspended sentence of three months prison.
He was granted immediate parole for all three sentences.