A SECOND magistrate has ruled a Wagga teenager who crashed a trail bike into a young girl on a Jubilee Park playing field should be sentenced in the District Court, where stiffer penalties apply.
Magistrate Shane McAnulty made the decision in Wagga Children’s Court on Friday.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will now be listed for sentence in the October sittings of Wagga District Court.
The teenager on May 7 rode an unregistered trail bike onto Jubilee Park where an estimated 800 people were attending a primary schools football carnival.
He hit an 11-year-old girl, causing serious injuries that included broken ribs, back and pelvis and cuts to her leg.
On May 8, the youth pleaded guilty to dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm. He has been in custody since his arrest minutes after the crash.
The Crown in July successfully applied for the boy’s sentencing to be transferred to the District Court, but on September 15 Judge David Arnott remitted the case back to the Children’s Court because in deciding to send the case to the District Court magistrate Erin Kennedy had not considered a Juvenile Justice background report.
The court on Friday heard the background report was prepared on September 3, weeks after the DPP application was considered by Ms Kennedy.
The Crown again argued the dangers of the teenager’s behaviour would have been obvious to him even though his intellect and maturity were below average, and the gravity of the offence took it beyond the Children’s Court’s two-year jurisdictional limit. The defence argued an adequate sentence could be imposed by the lower court.
Mr McAnulty, considering the Crown’s application after Ms Kennedy disqualified herself from the case and with the benefit of the background report and written submissions by the Crown and the boy’s legal representative, sent the case to the District Court for a second time.
“The starting point (for a custodial sentence) may well exceed what is available in this jurisdiction,” he said.
Mr McAnulty referred several times to the gravity of the crime, particularly the elements of the teenager “showing off” and his speed.
It is possible the youth’s representatives will make another application on different legal grounds to have him sentenced in the Children’s Court when the matter reaches the District Court.
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