‘Outrageous’: Juvenile crime laws slammed after alleged rape
A TEENAGER accused of breaking into an Edmonton woman's home and raping her yesterday morning was released on bail for sex offences allegedly committed just a month ago.
The Cairns Post can reveal the 17-year-old was charged with various offences in Cooktown during January including sexual assault and assault with intent to commit rape.
It is understood he was granted bail and ordered to live in Cairns and not return to Cooktown as one of the conditions of his bail.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington described the alleged incident as a "horrific, horrific case" and said the community was being put in danger by Labor's decision to scrap the breach of bail offence for juveniles and amendments to the Youth Justice Act.
"Labor's catch and release youth bail laws are putting the public at risk," she said.
"There is a revolving door of youth crime and the community has had enough.
"I'm devastated for the victim and I'm also devastated for the Queensland Police Service, the people who put their lives at risk to arrest these offenders, and it comes to this."
A senior police officer who did not want to be named, said the current legislation "left a lot to be answered for".
"It's absolutely outrageous and it's leaving the community at risk," he said.
The Cairns Post has also learned the boy was also part of the bail hub program Operation Regenerate which involves police on paid overtime taking youths on recreational outings.
The operation was part of a $9.4 million statewide investment from the Queensland Government to lower the number of children remanded in custody.
Cairns MP Michael Healy defended Labor's juvenile crime policies.
"The simple fact of the matter is, the Youth Justice Act is clear, a person can be remanded in custody to keep the community safe or to prevent them from offending," he said.
"Locking them up is not the simple solution, we have a wide range of activities taking place throughout the community … the only way to address this problem is being hard and direct on the causes of crime."
It is alleged the woman attacked by the teen was aged over 50 and living near the address he had been residing in.
The boy, who will never be able to be identified due to his age, has been charged with rape, assault with intent to commit rape and enter dwelling with intent.
It is alleged he gained entry to the home around 5am and sexually assaulted the woman.
The pair were not known to each other.
She called police and he was allegedly located and arrested naked and nearby within about 20 minutes.
The woman was treated in Cairns Hospital and Far North police Det Insp Jason Smith said she was being provided "all the support we can".
It is understood the boy appeared in a closed court session late yesterday and remanded in custody with the case adjourned until May.