Schwarten: juvenile justice system not working


A FORMER state politician says he spent 22 years sitting at tables discussing what to do about juvenile crime but now feels nothing implemented has worked or is working.

Robert Schwarten, whose political career started in 1985 as an alderman at ­Rockhampton City Council and wrapped up as the ­Rockhampton Member of parliament in 2011 with about three years break in the 90s, spoke with T he Morning ­Bulletin after watching an 18-year-old opportunistic car thief yawn throughout his sentencing for crimes which included the theft of two Lexus vehicles from the Schwartens's Main Street residence.

"There was nothing in that fellow today that is redeemable," Mr Schwarten said after the sentencing.

"He has no remorse. No respect. I fear that he's not going to live to be an old man … not with his driving habits and drug issues."

He said he felt sorry for police and other agencies "tied up" dealing with ­Larcome Allan James Keith Brown - the yawning 18-year-old.

"What do you do?" Mr Schwarten asked.

"No ones got any answers. Locking them up is not a deterrent for these young people."

He said during the 22-odd years he spent as a politician, he spent many hours discussing juvenile crime issues with people who had goodwill towards young people.

"The millions and millions of dollars that we have been giving to organisations to help these people has been wasted.

"I think that side of it needs another look at."

Mr Schwarten said he felt there was a "hopelessness" about our current system - involving youth justice officers, police, prosecutors, defence lawyers, magistrates and judges.

"It's a dreadful drain on the taxpayer," he said.

He said this as he revealed crime had cost his family in excess of $40,000.

Mr Schwarten said he lost $3,500 of tools during this last crime hit. He said the tools, which were given to him by his father, were used every Friday as he worked with people with disabilities at a Rockhampton high school.

"This is the second time our cars have been stolen," Mr Schwarten said.

"Many years ago, our car was stolen from the airport."

Mr Schwarten's black Lexus was taken to Menzies Auto Service yesterday for the insurance assessor to look over the damage caused to the car by Brown when he stole it, drove dangerously through Rockhampton streets and evaded police.

He said this was the second time he was a victim of crime, and his whole family, including his parents, had been victims of crime carried out by indigenous youth.

Mr Schwarten said police had done a "terrific job".

DON'T MISS OUT: Activate your bonus for big rewards

DON'T MISS OUT: Activate your bonus for big rewards

Did you know you can get even more – for free?

Hero who rescued toddler in island dingo attack identified

Premium Content Hero who rescued toddler in island dingo attack identified

Child's screams alerted rescuer to dingo attack