Teen denied appeal over 'traumatic' home invasion

·2-min read
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A Queensland teen who took part in a home invasion in which a man had a knife placed to his throat has been denied leave to appeal his sentence.

The 17-year-old boy in March last year pleaded guilty to burglary, armed robbery offences, motor vehicle theft and breaching a probation order, and was sentenced in Brisbane Childrens Court to 18 months in detention

The boy was aged 16 when he joined with two co-offenders in jumping over the fence at a home in the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton on the afternoon of October 9, 2021 after they spotted a luxury vehicle in the driveway.

They confronted a husband and wife in the kitchen, with one of the boy's co-offenders pointing a 13-centimetre hunting knife at the man and demanding "keys, cash, wallet now".

The co-offender held the knife to the man's throat and his wife stood behind him and screamed.

The boy and his co-offenders stole a wallet, mobile phone, house keys and the car keys, which they used to steal the luxury motor vehicle.

Barrister Samuel Walpole appeared pro bono for the boy at the Brisbane Court of Appeal and argued that imposing an 18-month sentence in combination with recording his first criminal convictions was manifestly excessive.

The boy's defence counsel at the original sentencing argued that the boy aspired to a career in sport and it could generally be assumed that recording of a conviction would have an impact upon his rehabilitation and the chances of finding employment.

In a decision handed down on Friday, the Court of Appeal refused the boy leave to appeal his sentence.

Justice Peter Flanagan noted the boy did not personally use a knife but was party to a series of burglaries where the offending by others had escalated from making threats to use a knife, to holding a knife to a man's throat.

The boy had been sentenced on 13 previous occasions for a total of 138 offences starting when he was 12 and ranging from burglary to break and enter, vehicle theft, common assault and serious assault on a corrections officer.

Eight days before the Hamilton robbery, the boy had been placed on a probation order for threatening to stab a woman who had a newborn baby in order to steal her handbag.

Judge Flanagan noted the boy's "lengthy history of non-compliance with the conditions" of court orders, had low numeracy, literacy and reading skills and had been under the influence of cannabis and methamphetamine while committing the robberies.

The boy had some level of remorse for causing distress and possibly long-term trauma for the victims but he had also stated he wanted to continue associating with his co-offenders upon release, Judge Flanagan said.

Two other judges of appeal agreed with Judge Flanagan that the boy's sentence did not contain any errors and his personal circumstances were taken into consideration.