Judge hits out at 'cowards' who bash, rob children

A JUDGE has criticised the thuggish behaviour of children as "cowardly" who act tough and aggressive when they form into a group to harass, attack and rob other children.

The young anti-social underbelly of what some children and teens get up to in Ipswich was left exposed in a case of two Ipswich lads aged 13 and 14 charged with robbery offences who went before Judge Dennis Lynch QC for sentence in Ipswich Children's Court.

It revealed how children can be preyed upon when simply hanging out around Ipswich at parks and recreational play areas.

In one violent incident an Ipswich school girl was bashed when she went into bushes to retrieve her bag from a thief who ran off with it. The lad punched her.

The boys were involved together, or with another youth, in the Crown cases that happened in November and December last year.

Both have lost their freedom and been held in detention.

Guilty pleas were made to offences of robbery in company with personal violence, robbery in company, attempted robbery in company and assault causing bodily harm/in company.

Victims include a boy and girl both aged 15, and a boy 13.

The Ipswich City's Safe City camera network recorded one robbery - the footage helping police identify and arrest the young offenders.

Crown prosecutor Cameron Wilkins said the victim in one incident, a boy aged 13, did not know the two offenders when they ran toward him.

He was pushed against a wall and told to give them money.

Saying he would not give them money he was told to empty his pockets. One lad took his wallet stealing $30 and a travel GoCard, later admitting that he said to give it to him or "I'll bash you". A third lad saw his G-shock watch and took it.

A week later a girl and boy aged 15 were targeted in the riverside parkland. They were surrounded by a group of youths who wanted a fight and encircled them. Their bags were taken and one lad tried to steal the boy's shoes.

A mobile phone was knocked from the girl's hand. When she chased the lad with her bag, she went into bushes to grasp it from the thief. She suffered blows to her ribs, shoulder and back. A third offender punched the boy, causing injuries to his face and lip.

One of the lads sentenced by the court was also charged with stealing from a person on December 7 last year at a Redbank skate park.

A group of six youths gathered around a boy demanding his scooter. He refused but his G-shock watch was stolen from his wrist. One boy threatened "if you tell anyone about us we will bash you".

After hearing submissions on penalty from their defence barristers, Judge Lynch told the two lads in the dock that he hoped they realised that the Ipswich community was sick of such bad behaviour, to go around in a group bashing young people for their property.

"It is completely unacceptable running around acting like thugs, stealing their property," he said. "Nothing more than cowardly."

Judge Lynch said he had read a victim impact statement from the girl that revealed the violence left her feeling anxious in case she met any of her attackers, and found it hard to go out.

Calling their acts "cowardly," saying they would be upset if it happened to them or their families, Judge Lynch sentenced each to 18 months of supervised probation. Convictions were not recorded because of their young ages.