Fair warning: Teen’s crime spree costing thousands

A TEENAGER'S crime spree involving stolen cars and high-speed pursuits apparently caused more than $8000 damage.

In a Crown prosecution case where no specific facts were disclosed to an open court, the 17-year-old youth pleaded guilty in Ipswich Children's Court to four separate indictments.

His crimes involved unlawful use of stolen cars, dangerous driving, break and enters, and stealing.

In this case no facts were read onto the record by Crown prosecutor Victoria Adams and Judge Dennis Lynch QC shared only a few details.

Ms Adams said the teen's three charges of break and enter to steal were the most serious charges and the value of damaged and stolen property was $8271.61.

She said the defendant would turn 18 this month and the Crown sought a 12-month penalty as being suitable.

Judge Lynch said the youth had also spent 49 days in detention.

Defence barrister Scott Lynch said the most striking thing was that the youth's crimes did not begin until he was aged 14.

"He lived with his mother, attended school with no apparent anti-social behaviours. He went to live with his father in a caravan park and fell under the influence of his peers who equally had idle time on their hands," Mr Lynch said.

"A report by the department (of youth justice) says there were significant influences, peer pressure, but he was the driver of the car in police chases and there were others in the car at the time.

"He has been told of the most significant risks in such behaviour which was evident in the unfortunate circumstances in Townville on the weekend (referring to four teenagers killed in a road crash in a stolen car)."

Mr Lynch said if the court makes a Restorative Justice Order the youth would be willing to sit down with his victims and would see what impact it had on others.

Judge Lynch then spoke to the youth in the dock.

"You need to understand that the community will not put up with this," Judge Lynch said.

"You are almost 18 and next time if you break the law or steal a car and use them in other offences, or embark on a police chase, you will come before an adult court.

"If you continue to disrespect others and put their lives in danger, if you engage in police chases the community will not put up with it."

Judge Lynch asked whether he was right in thinking that his 49 days in detention was not much fun.

"Not really," the youth said.

Judge Lynch gave some brief factual details saying that one indictment involved nine offences including unlawful use of a stolen car in July 2019 which the youth used to break and enter stores at Crows Nest and Nanango.

He also stole petrol at Chinchilla.

"Twice the police tried to stop you in a police chase and you drove very dangerously," Judge Lynch said.

The youth used a stolen car from Oakey in February this year to steal petrol at Murgon, Judge Lynch saying the full circumstances of his offending were set out in the written facts.

"There was significant damage to vehicles and premises. There was property stolen, a loss to the community. Your conduct should be regarded seriously," he said.

"Your history shows you have engaged in such conduct in the past. In 2018 it lists a large number of similar offences."

Judge Lynch said that given he was nearly 18 he would not make the restorative justice order.

The youth was sentenced to complete a 12-month probation order. No conviction was recorded against him.

Despite Queensland's open justice system, only a few fragments of facts of the most serious charges were eventually disclosed.

In Queensland courts where fewer facts are being read onto the record in recent times, a journalist who acts as a conduit to the community about court matters must then make an application to the court and pay money to view the agreed facts on record.

Queensland is the only state where journalists must buy the facts to check for accuracy, or learn what the agreed facts actually are when increasingly the relevant facts of crimes are hidden from the community during court sentence proceedings despite residents being the victims of such crimes.