Teen’s attack on disabled pensioner ‘spine chilling and despicable’
A 16-year old-boy has walked free from court with no conviction after pleading guilty to an unprovoked attack on a disabled pensioner which the sentencing judge described as spine chilling and despicable.
The teenager punched the then 47-year-old pensioner eleven times as his co-accused allegedly struck him 26 times with a house brick as the man sat on a public bench at the Beenleigh Market Place in the early hours of October 27 last year.
The victim suffers from Huntington’s Disease, a debilitating brain disorder which makes it difficult for him to speak, think and move.
Security footage of the incident was played to the Beenleigh District Court last Friday during the sentence hearing of the juvenile who was 15 at the time.
FIRST ON SEVEN: CCTV footage of the attack which as been described as ‘spine chilling and despicable’. Source: Seven News
The attack at the shopping centre, south of Brisbane, lasted around two minutes during which the victim was repeatedly kicked and punched when he fell to the ground or tried to get away.
The footage shows the two teens appear with the then 18-year-old allegedly holding part of a house brick behind his back which he uses to repeatedly smash the man in the face.
The injured victim tries to get away but stumbles.
The then 15-year-old then becomes involved and according to court documents, punches him eleven times.
He repeatedly kicks the man in the face and head.
The 47-year-old is held by the shirt as he falls to the ground before being put allegedly put in a headlock as the younger offender continues to kick him.
The victim cannot defend himself and again tries to escape but is allegedly dragged back to the bench.
The youth then shapes up in a boxing stance, and again lashes out again at the victim.
The man was robbed of a small amount of tobacco and a lighter.
“Whilst the complainant was on the ground, the defendants (allegedly) repeatedly kicked him to his head and body…(name withheld) continued to assault the complainant. (He) kicked and punched the complainant to the face,’’ according to the prosecution’s Schedule of Facts released to Seven News.
After watching the footage, Judge Ian Dearden described the assault as appalling, despicable and cowardly and said it deeply distressed him.
“It really did send a chill up and down my spine,’’ he said.
He said it was literally only luck or the “grace of god” the victim didn’t suffer more serious injuries.
Police found the victim bloodied and bruised.
The 47-year-old suffered a four centimetre laceration to his head which had to be stapled as well as cuts and bruises to his face, neck, hands and legs.
His brother, who is also his carer, described the victim as “looking like a “prisoner of war” after the attack.
Seven News approached the victim but he was too distressed to comment.
The matter has been before the courts since last October.
Seven News has repeatedly applied for the footage under the former Newman government’s name and shame laws for recidivist juvenile offenders. Judge Dearden released the footage on condition Seven News not identify the teen offender, his alleged 18-year-old accomplice whose case is still before the courts and the victim.
Hardened police described the attack as sickening.
Court documents reveal when the teen was arrested the next day, he led police to the shoes he was wearing on the night of the offence and had cleaned them as they had the “victim’s blood on them”.
“(Name withheld) told police that he was intoxicated at the time and that ‘Alcohol got to me”….He said, ‘I feel bad as because of the victim’,’’ according to the documents. The teen refused to answer any further questions or be interviewed.
The teen’s defence barrister Rob East told the court his client was drunk and he thought the victim was drunk and did not know he had intellectual difficulties.
“The most cowardly aspect is the defendant must have known at that point in time that he was a beaten man,” Mr East said. The court also heard the teen claimed he met his alleged accomplice on the day of the attack.
However, a photograph posted on three different public Facebook accounts, including that of the offender and his alleged co-accused, show the two had met as early as September 29 – four weeks before the attack.
Since his release on conditional bail on January 29, the teen allegedly posted he was at a sports club and was going to finish his night off with a few drinks. At 10.11pm on March 27, the teen allegedly posted, “On it with the brothers feeling abit (sic) tipsy”.
IN sentencing the youth for the attack, Judge Dearden said he took into account the teen’s relatively minor criminal history, that he had already served 93 days detention and upon release on January 29, had completed three months of a conditional bail program and had not re-offended.
He said the teen’s plea of guilty indicated he had taken responsibility for his actions and was an expression of remorse.
“The circumstance of this offence…representing poorly and despicable behaviour…and this was a disgusting way to treat a gentleman….sitting and contemplating the world on a seat outside the Beenleigh Market Place,’’ he said.
For the offence of assault occasioning bodily harm while in company, Judge Dearden sentenced the teen to four months detention of which half had to be served in custody.
“For the benefit of anyone taking notes, the order of the court is a sentence of four months detention and the fact you have served the time in detention does not mean you walk out of here scott free,’’ Judge Dearden said.
For the offences of stealing the victim’s lighter and a separate drug charges of possession of a utensil, Judge Dearden ordered the youth serve 18-months probation under the supervision of Youth Justice.
In relation to whether a conviction should be recorded, Judge Dearden again took into account the teen’s age at the time offence, his “relatively minor” criminal history for five offences that resulted in reprimands, and he had no history of violence.
“No doubt a conviction, particularly for the offence of assault occasioning bodily harm while in company create significant difficulties for you in the future. You have already made substantial steps towards rehabilitation in my view, you should be committed to continue that rehabilitation process.
“….In my view the conduct…even as appalling conduct like this, as serious as it is, it is not conduct for which a conviction should be recorded at this stage…”, Judge Dearden said.
The teen, now 16-years-old, apologised to the Judge for his actions.
“Just like to say I’m sorry to the victim and the victim’s family and I’m ashamed of my actions,” he said from the dock.
Outside of court, the teen refused to answer questions from Seven News as to when he met his alleged accomplice and would not publicly apologise to his victim