Teen denied bail after stolen-car crash

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A 14-year-old boy allegedly involved in a high-speed crash in a stolen car has been locked up in remand under the state’s recently- toughened bail laws.

At a childrens court hearing on 4 June, the boy was unable to prove “exceptional circumstances” – the highest bail test which is also reserved for accused murderers.

He had been on bail at the time over an alleged violent street robbery of a child in Cranbourne and an armed home invasion by a large group in Berwick.

About 1am on 3 June, the stolen Pulsar allegedly triggered a speed camera, ran a red light and slammed into the front-quarter of another car at the intersection of Princes Highway and South Gippsland Highway, Dandenong South, the court heard.

The three occupants of the stolen car – including the 15-year-old alleged driver – allegedly fled on foot.

They failed to assist a driver and passenger in the extensively-damaged second car left strewn in the intersection, the court heard.

There were no major injuries, the court was told.

On 13 February, the boy allegedly approached and demanded an i-Phone from a child at a bus stop in Cranbourne.

The victim fled – followed by two co-offenders onto a Cranbourne Transit bus.

Police claimed in court that the victim was repeatedly punched and kicked by the pair to the face and stomach as he called for help from the driver.

The assault continued until he obeyed the pair’s demands for his phone, the court was told.

The accused boy was allegedly arrested with the stolen phone at Cranbourne railway station. He denied robbing the child in a police interview, the court heard.

In April, he was allegedly part of a group of about 10 offenders who wielded two baseball bats and broke into a Berwick home occupied by a woman and a teen, the court was told.

The accused boy allegedly smashed outdoors CCTV cameras with a baseball bat.

A co-offender allegedly smashed a side bedroom window with another bat. The intruders climbed in through the hole and demanded payment of an alleged debt.

One of the victims was punched in the eye and hit to the back of his knee with a bat, the court heard.

The intruders allegedly stole cash and gaming items.

The boy later told police he didn’t know all of his co-offenders nor the victims and didn’t have prior knowledge of the break-in.

He followed instructions to smash the CCTV cameras so his co-offenders wouldn’t get “locked up”, the court heard.

A defence lawyer argued for bail on the basis of the boy’s age, likely supervision by Youth Justice, his attendance at school, no prior convictions and that he was set to face court within a week.

The magistrate said it got “nowhere near” meeting the ‘exceptional circumstances’ standard.

“I consider that cluster (of offending) to be very serious.”

The judge said the boy, if released, was an unacceptable risk to members of the public.

Earlier that day, another 14-year-old boy accused of being in the stolen car and taking part in the home invasion was bailed by a childrens court under the less-strict ‘compelling reasons’ test.

He was bailed on a night curfew at home and to be supervised by Youth Justice.

He was ordered not to associate with the co-accused in the stolen car.

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