Generic Thinkstock image of youth crime - hand cuffs teenager under arrest.
Generic Thinkstock image of youth crime - hand cuffs teenager under arrest.

Judge makes bold backflip on child thief’s jail term

A child with a history of property offences had his jail sentence thrown out and replaced with a lighter sentence after a judge thought it was too harsh.

The Townsville boy, 13, was sentenced to three months' detention in April for unlawful use of a motor vehicle and break and enter.

Queensland Court of Appeal documents state Judge Deborah Richards scratched out his term of imprisonment and instead sentenced him to 40 hours community service, stating the offences were not as serious as many that come before the court.

The boy's offending started when a friend picked him up from a residential care home in a stolen car on March 27 and drove them to a business.

They used a metal grate to smash open the front glass window and took a computer, Guide Dog's donation tin and aerosol deodorant cans used to chrome.

He told police it was his friend's idea to break into the shop, and he wanted money to buy clothing, cigarettes and a bus fare.

The boy's criminal history started when he was 11 years old and he was placed on probation orders four times before the latest offending.

Court documents stated the boy was not compliant with his orders and spent 15 days in Cleveland Youth Detention Centre.

The boy had a traumatic upbringing and concerns for his safety were raised before he was born.

He witnessed physical violence, had no parental support, bounced around homes and was even found alone in a street at night when he was five years old.

The boy was introduced to chroming when he was 11 years old by a friend as a way to escape negative emotions.

Judge Richards said given his personal issues, the boy should not be in detention.

She said the original magistrate did not give enough reasons for his sentence, other than his criminal history.

Judge Richards set aside the original sentence and instead imposed an order of 40 hours community service in the hope he may comply.

Originally published as Judge makes bold backflip on child thief's jail term