MAGISTRATE Michael Allen has pleaded with an Aboriginal teenager to waste no time in trying to turn his life around.
The youth, who cannot be named, appeared in Orange Local Court on Thursday to answer charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and reckless wounding.
The youth has been in custody since November 9 when he allegedly threw a star picket at another man outside Centrelink, which bounced off the footpath and hit the victim in the leg, requiring stitches.
Mr Allen told the youth, being almost 18, he would not be shown the same level of support if he reoffended.
“If you reoffend as an adult those prison doors will close behind you and you will be locked up with less access to rehabilitation services,” he said.
Mr Allen referred to the youth’s childhood as sad, dysfunctional, chaotic and violent, growing up with an alcoholic mother and her abusive partner.
Mr Allen recommended all available support resources be focused on the young offender prior to his release.
Court documents revealed the teenager had used cannabis every day since he was 13, except for the periods when he had been in juvenile detention.
“You don’t want to be one of those young Aboriginal boys who spend most of their life in jail,” Mr Allen told the youth.
“It’s up to you to get off the drugs, the grog and be in a position where people can trust you again.”
The only person in court to support the teenager was his sister, who was holding a young baby.
Mr Allen said every time the teenager had come before the court, he noticed it was the boy’s sister who turned up to support him.
Court documents revealed she often cared for her brother and other siblings, prior to the Department of Community Services intervening to remove the children.
“Listen to her because I’m sure she’s said the things to you before that I am saying to you today,” Mr Allen said.
The magistrate told the court he noticed the teenager used to mow lawns to earn pocket money and encouraged the accused to take it up again as a way of generating an income when he was released at the end of the month, taking time served into consideration.
The teenager will be under the strict supervision of Probation and Parole as part of his release conditions.