A teenager who went on a two-year crime spree and racked almost 150 offences, including robbing a 92-year-old grandmother, was sentenced to 12 months in a youth detention centre.
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The boy, now aged 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to almost all of the 148 charges, including theft of a motor vehicle, unlawful assault, criminal damage and unlicensed driving.
A children’s court heard, in one incident last year, the teenager grabbed a 92-year-old woman walking her dog, in a “bear hug” before searching her pockets for her car keys.
He and a co-accused then stole the woman’s car and drove off to continue to commit offences, the court heard.
The court heard the youth began offending when he was 13. Almost all charges occurred between September and November last year.
A magistrate said the teenager’s behaviour “demanded” incarceration.
“You've previously had the advantage of a variety of sentencing options to assist you with rehabilitation,” she said. “You didn't engage in any of those opportunities.”
The magistrate said the teenager’s actions had left his victims, many of them children or elderly, traumatised.
“There were a number of victims including young children in the homes you entered into for burglaries and theft,” she said.
“There were elderly people that you hurt and stole from. Many of those victims will be traumatised for a very long time. Possibly, you didn't foresee the consequences of your actions, or perhaps you were just reckless.”
A defence lawyer for the teenager urged the court to take into account he had pleaded guilty to almost all charges and had prospects for rehabilitation.
The magistrate said she was so concerned by the teenager’s behaviour she had requested a children’s clinical report.
She said while report findings were helpful in understanding his personal circumstances, it also showed he displayed a “very concerning” thought process and pattern.
“I’m not going to make it a crushing sentence, bearing in mind your age,” she said. “I’m also aware there were co-offenders who were older than you.”
She said the community needed “time out” from the youth’s “consistent and reckless conduct”.
She urged him to undertake schooling and courses for rehabilitation during his sentence.
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