Boy, 11, in court for bashing policeman

By MADELEINE DOHERTY

THE criminal history of an 11-year-old boy, charged over last November's bashing of an off-duty policeman in Coolangatta, caught up with him when Tweed Heads Local Court heard how he was arrested three times last year in the space of a month.

Accompanied by his mother, the boy faced Tweed Heads Local Court on Tuesday, just 11 days after being bailed in Queensland for the assault and robbery of the off-duty police officer and his girlfriend at Coolangatta on November 17.

The boy was in custody from November 28 until January 11.

He fronted court, facing charges for breaching his probation conditions surrounding other matters, which dated back to July and August last year.

The court was told that last year, on August 1, the boy's mother called the police after he became violent and hostile towards her when she found and removed his cannabis and home-made bong, which he had hidden on top of a cupboard at the family home.

When the police arrived at the home, they found the boy trying to escape through his bedroom window.

Asked where the drugs came from he pointed the finger at his father. He admitted that he (the boy) had smoked a joint in the bushes the previous afternoon.

The boy was taken into custody.

Police recommended that he be placed on bail with a curfew and an intervention program put in place in the hope of preventing him from committing any further offences.

The boy was also wanted by police on a number of other alleged incidents, including malicious damage and assault that occurred on July 27.

On that day the boy was alleged to have poked one of his neighbours in the nose, spat in her face and destroyed fence palings.

The boy was arrested, given a caution and released into the custody of his father. His mother was by then at her wits end, the court was told.

The next morning the father phoned the police to report that his son had run away.

A month later the boy was in trouble with the law again, this time for allegedly punching his mother in the face before spitting at her.

The Juvenile Justice case worker who was present at the time had to help the boy's mother physically restrain her son while the police were called.

Again, he was arrested.

Police told the court that the mother described her son as 'off the rails' and she has minimal influence or control over his behaviour.

"She has tried to get help from DOCs, mental health services, On Track and Community Health but has had a nil response from any of these services," the police said.

"He is a runaway from the family home, is associating with older known offenders and is becoming increasingly involved in drugs," police told the court last August.

On Tuesday, in Tweed Heads Local Court, the 11-year-old boy's solicitor, Cameron Bell, urged the court to allow the boy to stay in the community with his mother.

Mr Bell said jail had given the boy a 'shake-up' and he 'doesn't want to go back'.

"He's very young and if he goes back he's likely to be in there for a very long time," Mr Bell told the court.

Magistrate Jeff Linden revoked the previous order, placing the boy on a further 18-month probation with conditions including education described as 'a must', counselling for anger management and that he comply with Juvenile Justice supervision.

The boy faces Southport Court on February 18 in relation to the November assault of the off-duty police officer and his girlfriend in Coolangatta.



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