Prison time for ri­ot­ers

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - LUCY SMITH

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.

Novem­ber 12, 2016.

The Bul­letin,

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