False alibi on Facebook undoes teen on theft charges

A YOUNG Ballarat male was charged with the serious offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice after he gave police a false alibi during a record of interview, a court heard yesterday. 

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in a Children’s Court where he pleaded guilty to a long list of charges that included burglary and theft. 

The court heard that police arrested the teen  on February 21 last year after a co-accused admitted to police that the pair had robbed five residential sheds, stealing items including a motorised bike, a push bike, golf clubs, a boxing bag and a tool box. 

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Michelle Kilburn said the male was interviewed and said he had an alibi on the night of the offending because he had been drinking with his brother. 

While a police member went to check the validity of the alibi, the male was seen in the interview room typing on a mobile phone.

The court heard police took the phone and observed a Facebook message which the male had tried to send his brother. 

The message read: “tell **** to say I was drinking with him Wednesday night”.

The court heard the teenager was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice after his brother later made a statement to police, saying he hadn’t been with the accused on the night of the offending. 

The male’s defence lawyer said his client’s offending came down to problems with poor peer association, coupled with drug and alcohol use. 

The lawyer said the offending had been committed in order to buy more drugs and alcohol, adding that the male hadn’t engaged well with drug and alcohol counsellors in the past. 

The magistrate said the teenager’s future was in his own hands, warning him of the dangers of taking unknown substances. 

“If he keeps taking pills other people are giving him  . . . he will kill himself accidentally,” she said. 

The male was ordered to complete an eight-month youth supervision order, including 50 hours of community work.

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