No more second chances

By PATRIZIA REIMER

HIS young age may spare him a criminal conviction but one teenager will spend two months in detention for the role he played in a gang attack on tourists last year.

When handing down his sentence in Byron Bay Children's Court yesterday, Magistrate Jeff Linden said the courts had exhausted all attempts at deterring the 15-year-old Suffolk Park boy from crime.

"I have made it clear there needs to be deterrents," he said.

"The primary duty in dealing with juveniles is rehabilitation. The system is designed to do it."

But he added that in this case cautioning, youth conferencing and bail had all failed in those efforts and so handed down a nine-month control order with a two-month non-parole period.

The youth was involved in an attack against a group of tourists at the bus stop near Byron Bay's Railway Park on Jonson Street on July 12.

Police facts state that after another teen punched a tourist for no reason the 15 year old and the others began swearing, threatening and punching the tourist.

The detained youth also faced court yesterday for breaching the bail he received as a result of that attack. One of the bail conditions stated he be in the company of a parent for the duration.

He was arrested by police at the Bangalow Showground in November unaccompanied and affected by alcohol. He resisted arrest yelling obscenities at the police who had to use capsicum spray to control him.

"He was on bail, he shouldn't have been drinking, he shouldn't have been out other than in the company of his parents," Mr Linden said.

"It then went from bad to worse."

Another teen co-offender faced court yesterday and was granted 18 months probation with no conviction.

Mr Linden acknowledged he had no prior convictions when deciding on his sentence.

One of the five teens involved in the attack was given a wholly suspended control order two weeks ago.

A fourth teenager had his matter adjourned at Byron Bay Children's Court yesterday.

He will face the court on Tuesday April 8 for a final reply and to set a hearing date.



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