Teen ab­sent for years

NT News - - NEWS - MATT CUN­NING­HAM Sky News Cor­re­spon­dent

A 15-YEAR-OLD male ac­cused of at­tack­ing his 12-yearold girl­friend with a ma­chete had not been to school for four years, a court heard yes­ter­day.

The teenager, whose name has been sup­pressed, was charged with caus­ing se­ri­ous harm, be­ing armed with an of­fen­sive weapon and reck­lessly en­dan­ger­ing life over the al­leged at­tack at Gali­winku on El­cho Is­land last week.

He was granted bail in the Dar­win Chil­dren’s Court yes­ter­day af­ter lawyers raised con­cerns about his cus­tody ar­range­ments at the Dar­win po­lice watch-house fol­low­ing the riot at the Don Dale De­ten­tion Cen­tre on Tues­day night.

But the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion im­me­di­ately ap­pealed the de­ci­sion. That ap­peal was heard last night with the teenager de­nied bail.

The vic­tim was only re­leased from hos­pi­tal on Thurs­day, nine days af­ter suf­fer­ing hor­rific in­juries in­clud­ing se­ri­ous head wounds and gashes to her arms af­ter she put them up in front of her face to try to pro­tect her­self.

She had to be flown to Dar­win for emer­gency surgery af­ter the at­tack was re­ported to po­lice early last Tues­day.

Dur­ing his bail hear­ing, Judge El­iz­a­beth Mor­ris asked about the teen’s life his­tory, in­clud­ing de­tails about the last time he at­tended school.

A case worker replied: “A long time ago. For eight days in 2014.” Ms Mor­ris replied: “He hasn’t been to school for four years as a 15-year-old?”

She then or­dered a wel­fare re­port be con­ducted.

The teen’s grand­fa­ther told the court via phone hook-up that he had lived with a few dif­fer­ent rel­a­tives at Gali­winku but said he should be liv­ing with him and his grand­mother at an out­sta­tion, where he would be un­der full su­per­vi­sion.

He said the teenager had oc­ca­sion­ally at­tended a mo­bile school at Gali­winku.

“He hasn’t at­tended a lot of school but I do know that they have got what’s known as the mo­bile school that oc­curs on the church lawns which he oc­ca­sion­ally goes to,” he said.

The court heard the teenager had not been in trou­ble with the law be­fore last week’s al­leged at­tack.

But Ms Mor­ris said his files showed he was a chronic snif­fer, an assess­ment his grand­fa­ther dis­puted.

“He does sniff, I wouldn’t say it’s chronic,” he said.

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