Boy on probation for armed robbery, terrifying home invasion
A Gympie teenager has been warned he is at the end of his legal rope after pleading guilty to violent crimes including the early morning armed robbery of a local corner store.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be identified under the law, was one of two youths involved in the holdup of Gingers on Horseshoe on January 10, 2020.
Gympie District Court heard the then 16-year-old was armed with a 30cm-long metal bar and his 15-year-old co-accused was wielding a piece of timber when they entered the store with scarfs covering their lower faces and hoodies pulled over their heads.
The pair threatened the shop owner, a woman in her 60s, before making off with cash and cigarettes.
Almost one year to the day later, on January 11, 2021, the teenager and an 18-year-old co-offender broke into a home where the teen’s pregnant partner was staying.
The court heard his co-accused cut through the home’s screen door to open the latch and the pair went inside after a 14-year-old boy living at the address refused to let them in.
They made themselves comfortable before calling the 14-year-old into the room, the court was told.
When the boy appeared he was grabbed by the scruff of the neck and walked outside. He then ducked an attempt by the 18-year-old to punch him while wearing knuckledusters and ran to a neighbour’s house calling for help.
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That neighbour armed himself with a piece of timber and came to the property to move the pair on.
In response the teenager trashed the kitchen, stabbing a kitchen knife into the bench before locking himself inside a room and threatening self harm.
Judge Jennifer Rosengren lamented the youth’s personal history, which included exposure to domestic violence (targeted at himself and his mother) while growing up, and drug and alcohol abuse.
“You had a really tough upbringing and that’s not your fault,” she said.
But she was also troubled by his criminal history, which included a serious assault on a 23-year-old man which left him with significant head injuries including one to the brain, and what his repeat behaviour meant for his relationship with his soon-to-be-born child.
“Do you want that little kid to have the upbringing you had?” she said.
Ms Rosengren also pointed out the effect his actions were having on his “very patient” grandmother, who was in court to support him as she had time and again in the past.
“You’re breaking her heart,” she said.
“There must be times she feels like walking away, but she doesn’t.
“So how about you turn it around?”
Telling the 17-year-old next time he would be an adult and likely put behind bars, Ms Rosengren accepted his guilty plea to the armed robbery and break and enter with violence charges.
She sentenced him to 18 months detention suspended by way of a three month conditional release order and placed him on three years probation.
No convictions were recorded.