An alleged gunman who got bail in controversial circumstances yesterday has been arrested this afternoon after failing to appear in court where he was due to face unrelated charges.
Anthony John Valentino was briefly on the run from authorities again this afternoon, having already been the subject of one manhunt this month.
Mr Valentino arrived at court today but left before he was due to appear.
He was taken into custody about 20 minutes after the court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Yesterday, he was given bail on charges that he was involved in the shooting of a man in Maddington, in Perth’s south-east, last Wednesday.
That decision, made after police neglected to oppose bail, sparked concerns from politicians, the public and police, who admitted they made an error.
Today, Mr Valentino was due in court to answer bail on other serious charges, including fraud, stealing and driving to evade police.
He turned up, and was ready to appear after speaking to his lawyer.
But when the time came for his name to be called, Mr Valentino was nowhere to be seen.
His lawyer Terry Dobson told the court he believed his client had become aware that his bail might be revoked. In text messages sent later, he told Mr Dobson had felt “chest pains” and taken himself off to hospital.
A warrant was issued for his arrest by Chief Magistrate Stephen Heath, and the detectives who had been waiting in court for his appearance, then made a hasty exit from Perth Magistrates Court.
Mr Valentino was arrested near the law courts a short time later.
Earlier, WA Police Minister Michelle Roberts demanded to know why police failed to oppose bail for an accused gunman who spent four days on the run before his arrest.
The shooting prompted an urgent statewide manhunt for the 41-year-old.
Despite knowing police were looking for him, he allegedly spent days in hiding before he was arrested on a South Perth street on Sunday morning.
Police said the gun used in the shooting has not been found.
The police prosecutor did not oppose his bid for bail when he appeared in Armadale Magistrates Court yesterday.
But that may have been a blunder, as it is believed Mr Valentino would have been a schedule two offender – having allegedly committed an indictable offence, while he was on bail for another indictable offence.
Mrs Roberts said she would ask Police Commissioner Chris Dawson if investigators had clearly explained details of the case to the prosecutor before the hearing.
“But I would have thought it’s just logical given the significant resource that’s gone in to capturing him … it’s very disappointing to see him set free in the community again,” she said.
Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said he did not know what had happened in court but described it as “a clear breakdown of the judicial system”.
Mr Valentino’s bail was to have him report to Gosnells police station three times a week, but there were no conditions preventing him contacting his alleged victim.