Milkbar armed hold-up pleads guilty

A LAWYER for a 16-year-old male who threatened a milkbar owner with a knife, demanding cash, said her client was “groomed and coerced” to commit the attempted armed robbery.

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in a children’s court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to a string of charges, including the attempted armed robbery on December 14 last year.

The court heard the male stormed into the convenience store about 1pm on December 14, producing a large knife, and “lunged” at the victim up to five times, demanding cash.

The court heard that the milkbar owner defended himself with a wooden pole and the youth left with nothing.

A police prosecutor said the male fled, running along a nearby creek as a neighbour gave chase.

The court heard the male handed himself into police about 7pm that day and made full admissions during a police interview.

The teenager’s defence lawyer told the court her client, who also pleaded guilty to several residential burglaries, had been “groomed” to commit the offences.

Telling the court that her client had been convinced he had a drug debt, the lawyer said several co-offenders forced the male to commit the attempted armed robbery.

“He was intimidated and threatened,” the lawyer said.

“He was told he would be taken out into the bush, bashed and stabbed, and he believed that to be true.

“He was groomed and told how to behave in the attempted armed robbery.”

The magistrate adjourned the matter for police to obtain a victim impact statement from the milkbar owner,

adding the offending was “one of the most serious matters I will be dealing with in this jurisdiction today”.

The male is expected to be sentenced on March 17.

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