Robbing cafe not home gets teen out of jail early

BREAKING into a cafe instead of a home has let a Woorabinda teenager leave jail a month early.

Repeat juvenile offender Lawrence Kenneth Oakley successfully appealed the Woorabinda Magistrates Court decision to jail him for five months for animal cruelty, entering a dwelling with intent to steal and a number of other charges.

As a 14-year-old Oakley had broken into the Woorabinda Cafe - which was not a "dwelling" as he was charged with - Judge Terence Martin said the police agreed Oakley had been wrongly charged and convicted of burglary.

"On the face of the record, the appellant was wrongly convicted and sentenced in respect of the offence of burglary. The facts of the offence disclose that the building entered was a cafe, not a dwelling," he said.

Judge Martin ruled the charge should be set aside and Oakley should be charged with breaking into a premise on April 29, 2014, rather than a dwelling

Oakley immediately pleaded guilty to the new charge.

Judge Martin sentenced Oakley to four months jail - one less than his original sentence. He suspended the sentence taking into account the 57 days Oakley had already spent in jail.

While Oakley's lawyers called for their client's identification to be hidden Judge Martin said Oakley had a lengthy criminal history despite only just being in his teens.

He ruled prohibiting the publication of Oakley's name would not be fair to the community he lived in.

"The community is entitled to be protected from the appellant and consequently to know to be alert to the appellant's conduct," he said.

"After all, the appellant has persistently committed property-related offences within the community, thereby causing significant damage."

No convictions were recorded.


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