No jail for CBD ram­page

Teen’s autism not di­ag­nosed un­til af­ter in­ci­dent

Herald Sun - - NEWS - PADRAIC MUR­PHY padraic.mur­

THE head of the chil­dren’s court says it is un­for­tu­nate a se­vere dis­abil­ity of a teen who ram­paged through the CBD on Grand Fi­nal day was only di­ag­nosed af­ter his ar­rest.

The teen comes from a se­verely dis­ad­van­taged back­ground, com­mu­ni­cates at the level of a three- to five-yearold, has gone to a se­ries of spe­cial schools and been un­der the su­per­vi­sion of au­thor­i­ties.

But it was only af­ter his ar­rest, his se­vere autism — a key fac­tor in the ram­page — was di­ag­nosed.

“It is un­for­tu­nate, in­deed, that your com­plex needs, and the need for com­men­su­rate re­sources, were not iden­ti­fied much ear­lier,” Judge Amanda Cham­bers said.

The 16-year-old, who can­not be named be­cause of his age, pleaded guilty to six charges, in­clud­ing reck­less con­duct en­dan­ger­ing life and as­sault­ing po­lice dur­ing the in­ci­dent on Septem­ber 30.

Judge Cham­bers praised po­lice, say­ing they could have rea­son­ably be­lieved they were deal­ing with a ter­ror­ist.

“They are to be com­mended for their mea­sured re­sponse which avoided plac­ing you at risk of harm while at the same time safe­guard­ing the mem­bers of the com­mu­nity who were present,” Judge Cham­bers said.

The teen nar­rowly missed pedes­tri­ans, cy­clists and trams as he drove er­rat­i­cally near Fed­er­a­tion Square and Flin­ders St sta­tion dressed in mil­i­tary-style com­bat gear.

Af­ter swerv­ing be­tween trams and mount­ing foot­paths, the teen got out of the car armed with a bi­cy­cle pump as ter­ri­fied on­look­ers ran away.

He swung the pump at a po­lice of­fi­cer who tried to stop him with cap­sicum spray, which had lit­tle ef­fect be­cause he was wear­ing a hel­met. Other of­fi­cers tack­led the teen and sub­dued him with a Taser.

The boy is pro­foundly dis­abled, strug­gles to form friend­ships or in­ter­act with oth­ers. He spent three months in youth de­ten­tion on re­mand alone in his room.

“Your com­plex needs are now be­ing met for the first time,” Judge Cham­bers said.

She sen­tenced the boy to a 12-month youth su­per­vi­sion or­der and said he had good prospects of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. He can­not drive a car or use the in­ter­net with­out su­per­vi­sion.

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