Violent reign of teen gang ends behind bars, but how will court treat them?
A group of teenagers whose near deadly actions have terrorised Toowoomba and allegedly left an elderly man fighting for his life in hospital have been arrested after a lengthy police air and ground search.
The 75-year old man remains in a critical condition with life-threatening head injuries after he was allegedly knocked to the ground while waiting for a taxi.
A group of teenagers alleged to be at the centre of the attack and theft of the man’s backpack are now in custody following arrests Wednesday that ended two days of searching by police using the Polair helicopter and dog squad to catch the offenders.
The police pursuit began on Monday following the incident on Margaret Street, which resulted in an allegedly stolen car being was intercepted on Hermitage Road about 8.40pm.
The two occupants of the vehicle allegedly fled the scene on foot with police and dogs giving chase into nearby bushland. An 18-year-old man and 16-year-old boy were located a short time later and arrested and charged.
Following further investigations yesterday, police attended a Drayton address where a 17-year-old boy, a 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy were taken into custody without incident.
The 17-year-old boy has been charged with armed robbery with violence, grievous bodily harm and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
The other two children have been charged with a string of offences ranging from armed robbery, grievous bodily harm, burglary, stealing and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
All will appear before Toowoomba Children’s Court.
While at the Drayton address, police also took 13-year-old boy into custody for an unrelated robbery investigation and several other recent property crime offences.
It will be alleged the boy was among a group who stole a quantity of cash from a 37-year-old man making a deposit at an ATM at a James Street shopping centre in Toowoomba on February 4.
The man was not physically injured during the alleged theft.
The boy has been charged with robbery, stealing and property offences, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and drug possession. He also will appear before Toowoomba Children’s Court.
The Toowoomba crime spree comes just weeks before the Palaszczuk Government is due to introduce tougher youth justice legislation during the year’s opening week of parliament.
Police Minister Mark Ryan yesterday gave no indication of what the legisaltion would contain, beyond tightened laws, increased penalties and more resources for police, which had already been foreshadowed by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk over Christmas following a vicious home invasion north of Brisbane that left a woman dead allegedly at the hands of two teenage offenders.
The LNP Opposition is imploring the Palaszczuk Labor Government to release its youth crime legislation so it can be scrutinised by Queenslanders ahead of Parliament resuming.
“Since the Premier made the knee-jerk announcement on the 29th of December, the Labor Government has provided no additional details despite claiming they’d been working on the changes for months,” Shadow Attorney-General Tim Nicholls said.
“Given the Palaszczuk Labor Government has said it wants to ram the legislation through the first week of Parliament, it is not an unreasonable request for the legislation to be put on the table before that happens.”
Nicholls said it was usual practice for proposed legislation to be examined by the parliamentary and committee process for weeks or months so Queenslanders can have visibility of proposed changes to laws.
“It’s simple, the Palaszczuk Government either backs its legislation and will allow it to be scrutinised by Queenslanders or it views this as a political problem it wants to ride out quickly,” Nicholls said.
“Queenslanders also deserve to know who the Palaszczuk Government has actually been consulting with about this?
“The LNP has been working with and listening to victims of crime, advocate groups, the judiciary and Queenslanders. It’s becoming increasingly clear the Palaszczuk Government is not consulting with or listening to Queenslanders and their views.”
Ryan told reporters yesterday that the government was listening to the community, who had expressed “loudly and clearly” that they wanted new laws to keep them safe.
“We are all on the same page here,” he said.