Teen absent for years
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.