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Renee (a pseudonym) v The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions[2021] QCHC 10

Renee (a pseudonym) v The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions[2021] QCHC 10

CHILDRENS COURT OF QUEENSLAND

CITATION:

Renee (a pseudonym) v The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions [2021] QChC 10

PARTIES:

RENEE (a pseudonym)

(Applicant)

v

THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS

(Respondent)

FILE NO:

100/21

DIVISION:

Childrens Court of Queensland

PROCEEDING:

Sentence Review Application

ORIGINATING COURT:

Childrens Court at Brisbane

DELIVERED ON:

18 May 2021

DELIVERED AT:

Childrens Court at Brisbane

HEARING DATE:

27 April 2021

JUDGE:

Richards P

ORDER:

  1. Application for sentence review is granted.
  2. The order is set aside to the extent that the community service order is deleted.  The probation order is to remain. 

CATCHWORDS:

CRIMINAL LAW – SENTENCE – SENTENCING OF JUVENILES – where the applicant was sentenced to six months’ probation together with 40 hours of unpaid community service  for an offence of wilful damage – where the child was 16 years old at the time and at sentence – where the child had a relevant criminal history – where there was an early plea of guilty – where the child attended school and had the support of family – where the offending was not particularly serious – where the Magistrate did not have regard to other sentencing options including restorative justice as required by the Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld) – where Magistrate did not refer to child’s early plea – whether the sentence imposed was excessive in the circumstances

COUNSEL:

Mr T Clements for the Applicant

Mr T O'Brien for the Respondent

SOLICITORS:

Legal Aid Queensland for the Applicant

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for the Respondent

Introduction

  1. [1]
    The child was convicted on 8 March 2021 having pleaded guilty to a charge of wilful damage which occurred on 15 February 2021.  She was 16 at the time of the offence and at sentence.  She was not subject to any orders at the time the offence was committed.
  2. [2]
    Her criminal history commenced on 15 April 2019 and primarily consisted of wilful damage and theft.  Her last offence involving any sort of damage was on 16 April 2019 almost two years prior to this offending when she was 14 years of age. 
  3. [3]
    This offending occurred at 6.45pm at Centenary Park in Mareeba. Police attended and noticed plants in the raised garden beds bordering Therwine Street had been damaged. There were seven raised garden beds that had been damaged and each garden bed was three and a half metres long by one and a half metres wide. Three children, two males and a female, had a black rigid plastic sprinkler hose and had used that to hit the plants and damage them. An employee of the council had indicated that the plants would survive but that the council would had to undertake extra work to care for them. There was no quantification of the damage.
  4. [4]
    The child was in Year 11 at Kuranda.  She lived with her mother and her mother’s partner.  She indicated that the offending occurred because she was bored.  She pleaded guilty at an early opportunity.  It was suggested by her representative as well as Youth Justice that community service and probation might provide her with supervision and support.  The Community Justice Group indicated that she does well in school and that she had a lot of family support, both in Kuranda and Mareeba. 
  5. [5]
    In sentencing the child the Magistrate indicated that he would place her on probation for six months together with 40 hours unpaid community service. 
  6. [6]
    The Magistrate, it is conceded by the Crown, did not place sufficient weight on the fitting proportion between the offence and sentence.  The offending itself was not particularly serious.  There had been a significant break in her offending.  Plants were damaged, but not destroyed.  There was no restitution or compensation sought.  The Magistrate did not have regard to other sentencing options including a restorative justice order, even though he was required to do so under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.  The Magistrate did not refer to the child’s early plea of guilty.
  7. [7]
    On her behalf it is submitted that a good behaviour bond for a period of 12 months should be ordered.  The crown submits that a sentence of probation should be imposed or community service but not both. 
  8. [8]
    In weighing the relevant factors in this matter the child did have a relevant criminal history, the area in which the plants were damaged was substantial and the offending was senseless. However the child pleaded guilty, was attending school and had the support of her family. In light of those factors, a period of probation without the community service would achieve the appropriate balance of sentencing considerations.
  9. [9]
    Accordingly the application to review the sentence is granted. The order is set aside to the extent that the community service order is deleted.  The probation order is to remain. 
Close

Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Renee (a pseudonym) v The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Renee (a pseudonym) v The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

  • MNC:

    [2021] QCHC 10

  • Court:

    QChC

  • Judge(s):

    Richards P

  • Date:

    18 May 2021

Appeal Status

Please note, appeal data is presently unavailable for this judgment. This judgment may have been the subject of an appeal.
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