Court lets serial offender walk because he didn't like jail

THE release from prison of a serial juvenile offender has frustrated Stanthorpe police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland.

His comments come after a Childrens Court judge agreed with a 16-year-old Stanthorpe boy's pleas to be released from detention.

The boy, who has extensive criminal history, had complained he was not enjoying being locked up.

His release came 32 days into a six-month sentence handed down by a Stanthorpe Childrens Court magistrate in March.

Documents just published by the Childrens Court showed the reasoning behind Judge Brad Farr's April decision.

"He was given a number of opportunities to indicate that he would comply with the requirements of a conditional release order, but demonstrated an immature, foolish attitude and gave the impression of being someone who considered himself to be quite tough and thought that he would be able to handle detention without a problem," Judge Farr found.

"It's been submitted that, in fact, he was the recipient of some advice from either friends and/or family that he would have no difficulty with detention.

"He has now indicated that he wishes to be released from detention as early as he possibly can, that his experience was not what he anticipated, that he has not enjoyed his term in detention at all, and that he has realised the foolishness of the attitude that he demonstrated to the magistrate at the sentence proceedings.

"Given that change in attitude, given the fact that he has spent 32 days in detention, given the relatively minor nature of the offending behaviour, there is some hope that he will learn from this experience and try and make something of his life."

Snr Sgt Ireland was reluctant to criticise the judge's decision.

Instead he outlined the frustration his officers faced when dealing with such offenders.

"People who you know have no respect for the law or authority, basically walk out of court," Snr Sgt Ireland said.

"Like many juveniles. It is not just here, but everywhere."

He said some juveniles saw court appearances as social gatherings. "The only people who are losers when these people are on the street are the community."



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