A recidivist North Queensland youth offender with “19 pages of previous criminal history” has successfully appealed a magistrate’s decision to record convictions against him for breaking into a house and multiple car thefts.
Childrens Court Judge Ian Dearden last year granted an appeal by a child, identifiable only as WAD, to overturn convictions recorded against him by a Mount Isa magistrate on 8 March 2022.
Judge Dearden, in a decision published on 13 January, granted WAD’s appeal – saying the magistrate had failed to give any regard to the child’s chances of rehabilitation and gaining employment by the recording of convictions.
WAD appealed the decision under section 222 of Justices Act 1886 on the sole ground that “the magistrate erred in recording a conviction”.
The matter was heard and decided by Judge Dearden while sitting in the Mt Isa District Court jurisdiction on 26 August last year.
Judge Dearden said WAD was sentenced by the Mt Isa magistrate for eight criminal offences and received three months’ youth detention for the house break-in and three car thefts.
WAD also received reprimands for the other offences, which included a minor drug matter and two for unlawful entry of a motor vehicle.
“(WAD’s) appeal is confined to the issue of the recording of convictions in respect of the charges of unlawful use of a motor vehicle (three of the offences), and the enter premises and commit indictable offence. All of which occurred on 15 February 2022, and all of which were subject to the recording of a conviction,” Judge Dearden said.
“As was clear from the transcript of the learned sentencing magistrate’s decision, the conclusion that convictions should be recorded clearly arose from the 19 pages of previous criminal history that (WAD) … had accumulated prior to this particular sentence.
“(WAD’s) reoffending (also) took place three days after he was released (from detention), and where the offending was quite persistent, opportunistic and took advantage of vulnerable communities.
“Although the learned sentencing magistrate’s concern was clearly well placed … it is clear that starting from a default position of no conviction being recorded and identifying as relevant factors (as the magistrate did), the nature of the offences and previous convictions, the learned magistrate has failed to give any regard to the prospects of rehabilitation and the chances of retaining employment when considering recording a conviction.”
Judge Dearden subsequently granted WAD’s appeal and ordered the recording of convictions be set aside.
Read the decision.