Generic image of a knife held towards someone in a threatening manner
Generic image of a knife held towards someone in a threatening manner Brenda Strong GLA050913NIFE

Teen bandit to judge: 'It's not Mum's fault. I ran away'

A TEENAGER who attempted to rob a supermarket stood up to defend her mother as a district court judge made comments about parents needing to exercise stronger parental control.

The 15-year-old girl was sentenced in Rockhampton District Court this week after pleading guilty to one count each of attempted armed robbery and obstructing a police officer.

As Judge Michael Burnett handed down the sentence, he remarked "your mother needs to exercise stronger parental control of you" and that "14-year-old children should be out wandering at night".

However the now-15-year-old interrupted and passed new instructions to her defence barrister Ross Lo Monaco that it was not her mother's fault but hers as she had run away from home.

Mr Lo Monaco said his client carried out the attempted armed robbery of the Mount Morgan IGA in October 2018 as she wanted money to get out of the town.

Crown prosecutor Elise Sargent said the defendant entered the supermarket with a shirt wrapped around her head and armed with a knife.

She said the defendant yelled at a 16-year-old cashier "put it in the bag", indicating to put the money from the cash register in the bag.

Ms Sargent said the supermarket owner heard the demand from his office and moved to stand between his employee and the knife-wielding teen, pushing his employee out of danger.

She said the staff tried to explain to the teen the register could not be open at that time as it was mid-sale.

"She climbed over the bench and tried to open the register," Ms Sargent said.

She said the defendant ran from the store with the owner chasing her while she threatened to "knife him".

The court heard the owner followed the teen under a bridge into long grass and it took police dogs to track her down.

The teen then struggled violently with police during her arrest. She spent a night in the watchhouse.

The court heard this was not the teen's first violent offence as she had previously assaulted a male about her age while she was intoxicated.

Mr Lo Monaco said his client, who had substance abuse issues in the past, had shown positive steps towards rehabilitation, including showing victim empathy and attending a restorative justice meeting.

"She is regarding this as a second chance," he said.

Mr Lo Monaco said the teen had relocated to another Central Queensland town since.

Judge Burnett sentenced the teen to a 12-month probation order, restorative justice and no conviction recorded.



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