Judge sends seven ri­ot­ing teens to jail

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - LUCY SMITH lucy.smith@news.com.au

THE PAR­TIC­I­PANTS THREAT­ENED STAFF MEM­BERS WITH VI­O­LENCE, IN­JURY, RAPE AND DEATH

SEVEN of the 20 youths re­spon­si­ble for a riot that caused $ 143,000 in dam­age to a youth de­ten­tion cen­tre and left a staffer blinded in one eye have been sen­tenced to jail terms.

A to­tal of 10 ju­ve­nile of­fend­ers have now been sen­tenced over the riot at Cleve­land Youth De­ten­tion Cen­tre on Novem­ber 10 last year. Yes­ter­day seven boys, aged 14 to 17, were sen­tenced to jail terms rang­ing from two to three years.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Nigel Rees told the court that on the day of the riot, 23 youths were sched­uled to play a rugby league game against school stu­dents from Char­ters Tow­ers. The game was called off due to bad be­hav­iour, and the youths be­gan a “co- or­di­nated protest” about 4pm.

“The fi­nal child sur­ren­dered at 6.30am on Novem­ber 11. Dur­ing the course of the riot, the par­tic­i­pants threat­ened staff mem­bers with vi­o­lence, in­jury, rape and death,” Mr Rees said. “The of­fend­ers dam­aged build­ings in or­der to craft weapons. They used the weapons on the staff.”

Five staff mem­bers were in­jured dur­ing the riot in­clud­ing Grant Oak­lands, whose eye was hit with a rock. Mr Rees

PROS­E­CU­TOR NIGEL REES

said it was not known who had thrown the pro­jec­tile.

Judge Gregory Lyn­ham yes­ter­day sen­tenced the youngest boy, who turned 14 the month be­fore the riot, to two years in jail, with re­lease af­ter serv­ing 50 per cent.

The el­dest, who turned 17 the month prior to the riot, was sen­tenced as an adult of­fender to three years in jail.

De­fence bar­ris­ter Kelly Stone asked that the teenager be re­leased im­me­di­ately, as he would be trans­ferred to the Stu­art men’s prison. Judge Lyn­ham did not agree and or­dered pa­role re­lease af­ter serv­ing a third of the sen­tence.

One boy, who was 15 at the time of the riot, was sen­tenced to two years with pa­role re­lease af­ter 50 per cent. He was also sen­tenced to 15 months in jail for the car­jack­ing of a fe­male uni­ver­sity stu­dent.

An­other boy, who was 16 at the time of the riot and is now 17, was sen­tenced to two- and- ahalf years in jail, with re­lease af­ter serv­ing 50 per cent.

Judge Lyn­ham said one boy, now 16, had as­saulted two de­ten­tion cen­tre staff mem­bers in the months af­ter the riot. “I would have thought, be­ing in­volved in the riot, that you would have done your level best to stay out of trou­ble,” he said. The boy was sen­tenced to two- and- a- half years, with re­lease af­ter serv­ing 60 per cent.

Two other boys, aged 16 and 17, were yes­ter­day sen­tenced to two- and- a- half years in jail with re­lease af­ter 50 per cent.

In July, three boys aged 15, 16 and 16, were each sen­tenced to two- and- a- half years in jail, with re­lease af­ter serv­ing 50 per cent. Ten youths are still fac­ing the charge of ri­ot­ing caus­ing griev­ous bodily harm.

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