News

Shepparton teenager denied bail over spate of burglaries

By Liz Mellino

A Shepparton teenager faced court last week just three days after he was released on bail for a number of offences including theft, possession of cannabis and possessing a dangerous item.

The boy, 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested on Friday for a number of burglaries dating back to March this year and for breaching his bail curfew set just three days prior.

His arrest came despite being warned by a magistrate on Tuesday that his release on bail would be a final chance for him to turn his life around.

The boy faced a Children's Court on Friday for another bail application, with a magistrate denying his release.

“Your time is up ... you're an unacceptable risk in my view,” the magistrate said.

“Bail is not a joke — I have given you plenty of chances.”

The boy was remanded in custody in relation to allegations including an attempted burglary at a house in Mooroopna on March 2 this year.

That same day police allege the boy gained entry to two other houses in Mooroopna where he stole numerous items including jewellery, $100 cash and a laptop.

The court heard that while inside one of the houses the boy grabbed a drink from the fridge which he consumed, leaving the empty bottle inside the house.

On May 14 police matched the DNA collected from the bottle to that of the accused.

The court was told that on May 13, just one day after being released on bail, the boy allegedly stole a bike from a home in Shepparton.

That same day police also received a call to say the boy was breaching his bail curfew.

The boy was arrested on May 15 and police located the stolen bike inside his bedroom.

The court heard police opposed his bail once more, saying he showed a "disregard" to any conditions enforced and his behaviour placed "innocent members of the community at risk of serious harm".

“You were crystal clear about what would happen if (the boy) came before the court again,” police said.

“You indicated it was his last chance and Parkville (youth justice centre) was the answer if he was to breach any bail conditions.”

The boy's lawyer told the court the new matters which saw her client remanded into custody were "quite old" and predated the bail matters which the magistrate had previously seen the boy on.

She argued the prosecution case was "not the strongest" saying there was no physical evidence which linked her client to two of the Mooroopna addresses.

She told the court her client found the bike by the side of a street and picked it up as a way to visit his family and still manage to make it back to his residential care address in time for his curfew.

The lawyer said her client, who recently began residing at the residential care unit, was very happy there and enjoyed the structured and supportive environment.

She said her client had experienced some issues when he had previously been remanded at Parkville, saying he was once "viciously assaulted" and always had a difficult time when released from the centre.

“He recognises the need for stability in his life — this is a real grounding force,” the lawyer said.

“The concern is with all the shifts and changes, he was really grateful to get the residential place, the concern is if he goes to Parkville it will be a setback.”

The boy was remanded in custody to face a Children's Court again in June.

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