Teen car thief: ‘Stealing is easier than earning money’
A TEENAGER sentenced over stealing and torching a car, not only refused to do community service or a Restorative Justice Order, but also initially refused the Judge's offer of probation, opting instead for juvenile detention.
The curveball moment was followed with the teen saying "no disrespect … I don't want to deal with yous (sic) again. I just want to do my time and get out."
The boy was the second juvenile to be sentenced this month for their involvement in stealing a Hyundai i30 from a West Gladstone residence, driving it to soccer fields, doing manoeuvres and setting it alight.
A 16-year-old was sentenced on July 14 in Gladstone District Court for this and 55 other charges including break and commit an indictable offence, stealing and burglary.
The 16-year-old's co-accused failed to appear for his sentence, and was arrested and taken into juvenile custody until his second attempt at sentencing in Rockhampton District Court yesterday.
Crown prosecutor Samantha O'Rourke said the second teen, now 17, stole the Hyundai i30 from a West Gladstone street with his co-offender on August 15, 2019.
She said they drove it to the Gladstone soccer fields where they carried out manoeuvres and set the car on fire.
Ms O'Rourke said when police caught up with the defendant, his eyebrows had been singed.
The court heard his eyelashes were also missing.
Ms O'Rourke said the defendant was the principal offender.
"It was deliberately lit," she said.
Ms O'Rourke said his presentence custody report showed he lacked remorse, telling the report writer "it was fun", "stealing was easier than earning money" and he had done the victim a favour as she could now buy a new car.
Defence barrister Maree Willey said her client's parents separated when he was young and he had no relationship with his father.
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She said he had grown up without a male role model.
Ms Willey said the presentence report pointed towards poor parental supervision and being exposed to criminal behaviour while he was living in the family home.
She said he was kicked out by his mother when he was charged for these crimes.
Ms Willey said he moved in with a female adult friend who had been supportive.
The court heard the defendant's mother had defended him when he was in trouble at school or with the police.
She also told him when he was 16 that he was 'his own man' and there would be no curfews, as long as he took a phone with him.
The teen also has an older brother who was in prison.
He had no family members or friends who were prosocial.
Ms Willey said her client had not offended since April, a month after he received a probation order for more minor offendce, which she described as 'de-escalating'.
Judge Michael Burnett said the defendant's co-accused had been more forthcoming with police, telling them he had not wanted to torch the car but the 17-year-old did out of fear of his fingerprints being in the stolen vehicle.
"You see this behaviour, this anti-social behaviour, as being noble," he said.
"You plainly need significant mentoring."
Ms Willey said her client had not appeared seven days ago for his first sentence date as he feared he would be sent to detention, despite her assuring him he would not.
"You are on a trajectory towards prison," Judge Burnett warned, as he pointed out the defendant would turn 18 in a few months time.
"I hope the experience of the last seven days re-enforces your fear."
He said it was puzzling someone in the defendant's position would refuse to do community service or Restorative Justice, which were lessor penalties that defendants had to agree to do in order for those to be given as sentences.
When Judge Burnett offered the defendant 18 months probation, the defendant said 'no'.
"I just want to do my time and get out," the defendant said.
"I just don't want to deal with yous (sic) again, that's it.
"I just want to get this out of the way.
"I don't want to do that probation sh--, you know.
"I'm not going to say I'm going to do it and then not rock up.
"I'm just being brutally honest with 'cha (sic)."
Judge Burnett stood the matter down for two hours and Ms Willey was able to confirm the defendant did change his mind and would do the probation order.
No convictions were recorded.