Probation for boy who threatened to stab worker at Riverina Juvenile Justice Centre

A16-YEAR-OLD boy who threatened to stab a Riverina Juvenile Justice Centre staff member with a steak knife is very much at risk of becoming institutionalised, his solicitor has told Wagga Children’s Court.

The fears were raised by Joy Kirby during her sentencing submissions for the boy when he appeared by videolink for sentencing on one count of aggravated break, enter and steal, one count of intimidation and three counts of damaging property at the centre.

The boy at an earlier hearing had been found guilty of breaking into a teachers’ office/meal room at the centre with three other boys and stealing three knives and other kitchen items on May 10 last year.

It was alleged that when a staff member came near the trio, the 16-year-old said while armed with a knife: “If you come near us we will stab you, and we mean it.”

Ms Kirby said the threat was made as the boy was headed in the opposite direction to the staff member.

“”He was about 50 metres away when he said that, and he subsequently climbed a fence,” Ms Kirby said.

“Yes, those words were used and that was said, but he was not approaching the person, he was running away.

“Ultimately, the knife was handed in, in the process of negotiations.”

Ms Kirby said the boy had a mild intellectual disability and was a young person who had not had a lot of guidance to make positive choices in his life.

She said a male in the boy’s home had not been a positive role model in relation to abiding by the law.

“He does not have the best of (criminal) records, that has to be conceded,” Ms Kirby said.

But she said he was now under the guidance of Lifestyle Solutions, had completed barista and bricklaying courses and had engaged in drug and alcohol counselling.

“There is a long way to go with this young person, but this is a sign that this is possible,” Ms Kirby said.

The boy, who is due for release from custody on March 22 for earlier offences, was placed on probation for 15 months and given good behaviour bonds.

The police prosecutor had called for a harsher penalty.