Judge gives student pep talk

A TEENAGER regarded as being a good school student was told not to let his mates drag him down by a Lismore Children’s Court magistrate after he pleaded guilty to stealing and driving a motor vehicle.

The Northern Rivers youth, 17, already in a juvenile detention centre and with a growing list of dishonesty offences behind him, was placed under a control order (without conviction) for nine months, with a non-parole of three months.

When released he will serve six months on supervised parole.

“You are regarded as being an excellent student,” Magistrate Robyn Denes told him.

“It’s a shame when young people dumb down, as they don’t have to.”

Defence lawyer Kylie Anderson-Clarke said her young client had the abilities and could change if he wanted too.

Referring to a Juvenile Justice report on the youth, Ms Denes said it was really sad when she saw ‘bright, smart kids’ throwing it away.

She told him everyone else had faith in him, including his school.

“You are letting yourself down and letting your mates drag you down. There are plenty of bright indigenous people who get their High School Certificate and then go to TAFE or even university,” she said.

“If you are smart then you should soon learn that going in and out of Acmena (Juvenile Justice Centre at Grafton) is not the way to go.”

Ms Denes said the youth had been placed under a control order previously for taking and driving cars.

The youth was 16 when he was charged with stealing and driving a Ford ute in November last year before crashing it near Casino.

Witnesses saw the ute being taken and the driver did not stop, despite police following with sirens and lights.

The youth crashed the ute into a speed sign, restarted it and drove off. It was later found burnt out.

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