July 26, 2018 11:49:56
A teenager who kicked a police officer in the head at a Melbourne shopping centre will now serve four months in youth detention after a judge overturned the original sentence on appeal.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be identified, kicked the officer as he was arresting another youth for shoplifting at Highpoint shopping centre, in the city’s west, on Boxing Day last year.
The teenager pleaded guilty to intentionally causing injury and the Children’s Court imposed a sentence of nine months’ probation, but prosecutors appealed the decision.
County Court Justice Michael O’Connell today agreed it was inadequate.
He said he accepted the remorse shown by the teenager was genuine, and that his offence was not premeditated, but assaulting a police officer was a serious matter and sentencing needed to act as a deterrent.
The youth is already in custody for other charges, which will come before the Children’s Court later this month.
He will serve a further three months for the assault on the policeman, having already spent 30 days on remand.
Prosecution could have saved ‘anguish and expense’
In delivering the sentence, Judge O’Connell criticised the prosecution in the original case for not giving a sentencing recommendation to the Children’s Court magistrate.
“It is plain in my view that the magistrate in this matter did not receive the assistance to which they were entitled,” he said.
He added the “anguish and expense” caused by the appeal may not have been necessary had the prosecution given the recommendation.
The court had previously heard victim impact statements from both the police officer and his wife, which detailed the “significant and ongoing” effect of the crime.
“The media attention this matter has attracted has aggravated the effect this had on [the policeman],” Judge O’Connell said.
But he said he could not “sheet home” the continuing emotional impact of media reporting to the teenager.
Youth wrote apology letter to officer
The officer told a hearing in June he hated being a “poster boy” in the political war over African youth crime.
The court heard the youth was remanded to youth detention in May after a being arrested for fresh offences while on probation for the Highpoint assault.
Since being in detention he has continued his Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning studies and had not caused any further trouble, the court heard.
The youth had written to the policeman and his wife to apologise for the attack.
But Judge O’Connell said he agreed with the prosecution that the attack was a “cowardly act”, and its seriousness was exacerbated by the fact it was targeted at a policeman.
For these reasons, he was said he was not persuaded by the defence’s arguments that the youth should be placed on probation.
He said detention and rehabilitation could occur at the same time.
July 26, 2018 10:58:27