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Teen threatens shopkeeper with knife after stealing carton

A teen who armed himself with a knife and threatened to use it has escaped having a conviction recorded so he can turn his life around.
A teen who armed himself with a knife and threatened to use it has escaped having a conviction recorded so he can turn his life around. Rob Williams

A TEENAGER who threatened a bottle shop employee with a knife has escaped a recorded conviction in the Roma Children's Court.

The 15-year-old Roma boy, who cannot be named, was sentenced last Wednesday on several charges, including armed robbery, possessing drug utensils and threatening to harm.

However Judge Searles ordered no conviction be recorded against the boy, arguing he still had time to turn his life around.

Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso read out the facts of the first charge relating to an incidence on May 28, where the defendant stole a carton of beer from a bottle shop on Bowen St.

When the shopkeeper chased after the defendant, Ms Kelso told the court that the boy warned the witness he had a knife and produced it.

"He (the shopkeeper) was confronted with the defendant producing a knife and telling him to 'f*** off', and on that threat and the production of a knife then backed away," she said in her submissions.

Ms Kelso also described another incident where the defendant threatened his own mother with a kitchen knife, before being disarmed by a family member.

"What that criminal history demonstrates is he's never had the benefit of any type of supervisory efforts by the Youth Justice system," she said

"Although he has been supervised by the department previously, certainly what this behaviour demonstrates is an escalation in the seriousness of this behaviour, particularly concerning the fact that on two occasions he's resorted to using a knife."

Defence barrister Phillip Hardcastle told the court the teenager had trouble going to school because of the effects of medication.

In sentencing, Judge Searles said he found the boy's behaviour "concerning", and suggested he seek help to deal with "anger issues".

"It's very concerning to see a young person of your age so readily prepared to arm yourself and threaten the use of a knife," he told the defendant.

"There are people who have spent the majority of their lives in prison - that's not a course I would recommend to you.

"You're still very young, and you have a troubled history - you have your whole life ahead of you."

Judge Searles sentenced the boy to two years probation, but ordered no conviction to give him a chance to turn his life around.

"I'm doing that because I want to give you every opportunity to turn yourself around and make a life for yourself," he said.

Topics:  armed robber, roma children's court


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