Violent teen out in two weeks despite judge’s ‘tough’ sentence
A judge has given the "last resort'' sentence of detention to a juvenile with a history of violent armed robberies, including two involving use of knives to hold up rideshare drivers.
Queensland Children's Court president Judge Deborah Richards said only two months before robbing an Uber driver, the boy, now 16, was sentenced to two years' probation for violent robberies.
When Judge Richards asked him what had happened in those two months, he said: "Dumb stuff''.
"It's not. It's violent, dangerous criminal stuff,'' Judge Richards said, telling the teen his offending had an awful effect on not only the victims, but on his mother and siblings.
In one previous robbery for which he was placed on probation the teen, then 14, had acted as lookout when a large group attacked a care worker at a train station, leaving him with a fractured eye socket.
The 16-year-old pleaded guilty to seven indictable offences, including three robberies, and 24 summary offences, in the Children's Court on Thursday.
In one robbery of a store, the teenager and two others, armed with two hammers and a knife and with cloths wrapped around their heads, threatened the owner before running off with 10 packets of cigarettes.
In another store robbery the teenager and two others stole $7000 worth of cigarettes and $900.
The teen punched a rideshare driver in the face and a co-offender kicked the driver, leaving him with head, arm and back injuries, in another robbery.
In January, last year, he pointed a knife at an Uber driver's chest, telling him to leave everything in the car and "keep f … ing walking'', before driving off in the car.
Judge Richards said for most of the offending for which he was pleading guilty the teenager had been 15 and on probation for other serious offending.
The court was told a report on the teenager said he had been loyally dedicated to his criminal peer group and had said violence provided him with a sense of security and was used when he felt provoked.
The teenager, who has been in custody for almost 12 months, wrote a letter to the judge saying he had learnt about self-control and setting boundaries.
"At the end of the day it seems to me that these robberies, committed as they were when you were on probation for really serious robberies, are offences that require a period of detention, because they're so serious,'' Judge Richards said.
"Even though detention is the last resort for a child, and you are a child, nonetheless these are serious planned, some of them, robberies, some in company with weapons.
"Significant amounts of property were taken in some of them.''
Judge Richards sentenced the New Zealand-born 16-year-old to two years' detention, suspended after 12 months and placed him on two years' probation.
He only had to serve another 11 days in detention, as he had already been in custody for 354 days.
She did not record convictions, after submissions that a sentence of more than 12 months' detention could trigger moves to deport him.
Originally published as Violent teen out in two weeks despite judge's 'tough' sentence