Teen robber refuses to face victim
"WHAT I did had nothing to do with what I went through in Sudan. So don't bring that in."
A teenager convicted of a violent robbery emphatically told an Ipswich Children's Court Judge his offending could not be attributed to his traumatic past in Africa.
The 18-year-old pleaded guilty to committing robbery in company with personal violence in Richlands on April 7, 2018; and robbery in company at Redbank Plains on October 12, 2018.
He was aged 16 and 17 at the time.
An allegation that he was armed with a gun, or pretending to be, in one of the charges was withdrawn. His defence barrister, Jan Taylor, explained the altered charges to him.
Because of the current COVID-19 health concerns, Ms Taylor appeared in court by phone audio and the teen by video-link.
Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis said the teen had spent 110 days held in custody before his release on bail.
Mr Wallis said the first offence involved a group of people assaulting two men, amounting to a robbery where the teenager before the court was involved in actual violence.
He said it involved the taking of cans of cider and cigarettes, with the teen making admissions that a mobile phone was also stolen.
He said the second offence was on "a soft target" with no direct threats made.
"There were demands menacing in nature. His shirt was lifted up and the victim thought he saw a firearm," Mr Wallis said.
"It is not alleged there was a firearm.
"He made off with three $50 notes.
"The co-accused, an adult, went before Judge Lynch."
Mr Wallis said the teen had been diagnosed with a substance-induced psychotic disorder and was on medication.
Ms Taylor said the teenager's traumatic background was outlined in her written submission along with psychiatric material.
"He has a very traumatic background," she said.
It was an open court but the precise facts of the teens violence was not disclosed by either the prosecutor or the judge.
However, Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said the offences were very serious but the defendant had shown remorse.
"The circumstances of both offences have been set out (in written facts) I don't wish to dwell on them," Judge Horneman-Wren said.
"These were very serious offences. You have demonstrated insight and remorse by your cooperation."
He said that in all the circumstances he would sentence the teenager to compete a restorative justice order for the first offence.
"It means you will probably meet the victim and the effects of your offending will be discussed," Judge Horneman-Wren said.
"You will be able to make an apology. Ms Taylor says you are willing."
The teenager then interjected telling Judge Horneman-Wren he did not understand.
When the conditions were explained, the teenager simply said "I do not wish to do that".
"Can I make one thing clear," the teenager said.
"What I did had nothing to do with what I went through in Sudan. So don't bring that in. Thank you."
Judge Horneman-Wren ordered that the teen complete an 18-month supervised probation order.
The 18-year-old said he agreed to abide by the order. A conviction was not recorded.
In Queensland where the full agreed facts are not disclosed, or as often the case very fragmented, journalists/ court reporters must make an application to the court and pay monies to essentially buy the facts on record.
In this case the Qld Times chose not to.
Read more stories from Ross Irby.