Prison time for rioters
THREE boys involved in the “wantonly violent” riot at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre in November have been sentenced to 2 ½ years’ jail.
The boys, aged 15, 16 and 16, were sentenced yesterday in Townsville Children’s Court after pleading guilty to rioting causing grievous bodily harm.
The November 10 riot lasted 14 hours, caused $ 140,000 damage to the centre and a worker was blinded in one eye.
Seventeen other youths have been charged.
Judge Gregory Lynham ordered the boys serve half of their sentences. They have already served 176, 223 and 217 days in pre- sentence custody.
“It was beyond reprehensible for detention centre staff to be abused and then physically attacked in the way in which they were here,” he said.
“It is clear from ( staff) victim impact statements that they bear mental scars as a consequence of what they experienced on the night.”
Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane said the riot was sparked after centre staff called off a rugby league game.
At 4pm, some of the boys stood on a van outside the centre kitchen while the other half climbed on to the roof.
Mr Crane said those on the roof broke airconditioning units to make metal weapons.
“Debris was obtained from the roof and was used as projectiles to rain down on the staff,” Mr Crane said.
“Threats that were made by defendants to the staff on the ground included that they were going to bash the staff, put them on life support and rousing others to make sure that they hit them. They gestured towards female members of staff with hip- thrusting motions and made statements to the effect of ‘ I’m going to get you and rape you’.”
Sixty police, including riot police, attended and the last alleged rioter did not surrender until 6.30am the next day.
One of the boys, 15, had previously been convicted of 30 counts of wilful damage, nine of car theft, two of spitting on detention staff, 20 of stealing and six of burglary.
Another, 16, had 176 criminal offences in his history, including spitting at staff.
Defence barrister Troy Schmidt submitted a written apology on behalf of one boy.
Mr Crane sought jail terms of 2 ½ to three years. The boys’ lawyers sought 18- 24 months.
Judge Lynham refused not to record convictions.
“The offending here was so grave and so sufficiently serious that a conviction inevitably must be recorded,” he said.