Alleged police-basher kids in court

TWO boys, aged 11 and 16, charged with bashing an off-duty police officer and his girlfriend in Coolangatta had "no regard for human life", a court was told yesterday. A 27-year-old policeman and his 26-year-old girlfriend were walking on East Dutton Street about 12.50am (AEST) on Saturday when about 20 youths began kicking and punching them, Queensland Police allege. The officer was allegedly beaten to the ground, before his head was stomped and his wallet stolen. His x girlfriend suffered severe bruising and had chunks of her hair ripped out. Five co-accused were extradited from Tweed Heads to Queensland yesterday and will appear in Southport court today. Queensland Police Criminal Investigation Branch detective Peter Betts said that six youngsters remained in custody at the Southport Watch house. They were formally charged yesterday with robbery and assault occasioning bodily harm. An 11-year-old boy from West Tweed Heads remains out on bail under strict conditions. Det Betts also said Queensland Police had yesterday questioned another youth in relation to the Saturday morning incident. In Southport Children's Court yesterday police prosecutor Senior Constable Myee Arandale said the police officer was kicked so hard in the head by the 16-year-old that it moved the fence his beaten body was leaning against. "They set upon these two%people with no regard whatsoever for human life," Snr Const Arandale told the court. Magistrate Graeme Lee said he was astounded how a child as young as 11 could be on the street after midnight. "What amazes me is that these young people are allowed out there at ten-to-one in the morning," Mr Lee said. "What are their parents doing to keep them in?" The 11-year-old boy, who cannot be named, yesterday appeared in court charged with robbery with violence in company, assault occasioning bodily harm in company, affray and possession of a utensil. The 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named, from Banora Point, was charged with robbery with violence while in company, assault occasioning bodily harm and affray. Neither was required to enter a plea. Snr Const Arandale opposed bail for the 16-year-old, arguing he had admitted to kicking the police officer in the head in what she described as a "callous" and unprovoked attack on the couple. She said security video footage clearly showed the severity of the assault, pointing out the police officer needed staples inserted in his head after being knocked unconscious. "The older male defendant kicked out with such force against the complainant's head that it moved the fence his head was resting against," Snr Const Arandale said. Defence lawyer Ken Purdie, appearing for the 16-year-old, said his client's Brisbane-based father was willing to take care of his son until a committal hearing set for February 18.



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