Teen taxi thief gets off with no conviction
A teenager who stole a taxi after assaulting and threatening the driver had his conviction thrown out, with a judge saying his future job prospects outweighed the "excessive" convictions.
A trio of judges concluded the 16-year-old's six-month suspended detention sentence was too harsh after he punched a taxi driver in the face and stole his car in October 2018.
Queensland Court of Appeal documents state the teenager, who is now an adult, had a lengthy criminal history littered with property offending, car thefts and breaching probation orders.
A 16-month order was revoked prior to the incident where he failed to pay the 31-year-old taxi driver, punched him and caused the car to roll onto a fence at Mount Louisa.
The teenager demanded the driver get out of the car or he would "pull the gun out".
He tried to flee in the taxi, leaving the driver on the side of the road, but was arrested by police soon after at Plumtree Ln. A police car was damaged in the arrest.
The teenager spent a total of 46 days at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre before his sentence date for unlawfully using a motor vehicle and attempted armed robbery, despite lying about having a weapon.
His defence barrister said the teenager, who was from the Cook Islands, suffered some heartache before the offence when his brother suicided and his father fell ill.
As a consequence, the teenager stopped going to school and started drinking heavily.
Despite his history, the teenager had the support of his family after realising detention was a "harsh world".
The original judge considered the offending was very serious, using "trickery and violence", and decided to record a conviction despite the child being under the "protective umbrella" of the Youth Justice Act.
This decision was quashed, with documents stating the original judge did not ask either the defence or prosecution whether a conviction should be recorded.
The documents state the recording of a conviction against a child without consulting both parties was a "denial of natural justice".
The appeal was granted under the basis that the teenager also showed a "sound level of victim empathy" and that his employment prospects may be hindered by a recorded conviction.
The appeal was allowed and the recorded conviction was removed.
Originally published as Teen taxi thief gets off with no conviction