A TEEN who was involved in a series of affrays around Bendigo, including a homophobic assault, has been given a chance to avoid time in youth justice detention.
The 16-year-old appeared in a Children's Court earlier this week where he pleaded guilty to charges including affray, trafficking methamphetamine, and theft of a motor vehicle.
The court heard on August 31, 2019, the boy was part of a group of teens who assaulted another group at a Bendigo McDonald's.
The boy punched one of the victims who was trying to stop the offenders. The court heard the victims were terrified and had to be protected by a store manager.
The group of offenders left the fast food restaurant before police arrived.
The court heard on January 15 last year, police attended a property on unrelated matters.
The boy was at the house when officers arrived. He was wearing a bag, which police asked to search.
The officers found a black case with a pipe, a ziplock bag containing 0.87 grams of methamphetamine, a bank card in a different name, and a container with 22.34 grams of GHB.
Police also seized $185 in notes and $6 in coins. The boy told officers he received the money from a drug deal the day prior.
The court heard on September 11, the boy was part of a group who were loitering in Bendigo's Sidney Myer Place.
About 5.15pm that day, a victim walked past the group while wearing a face mask supporting LGBTIQ+ rights.
Read other news:
The court heard the offenders starting calling out homophobic slurs to the victim. The victim, who was part of a larger group, ignored the comments and tried to move away from the teens.
The court heard the offenders followed the group as they moved through Rosalind Park and up to the Ulumbarra Theatre.
The teens continued to yell abuse, before throwing rocks and glass bottles at the victims.
The offenders also attacked the victims, hitting them with sticks and kicking and punching them.
The 16-year-old boy admitted to being one of the people in the group, but told police he only pushed some of the victims to protect his friend.
In his police interview, the boy said the victim was "fat and ugly".
The court heard on September 27, offenders stole a car that was parked outside a church in Golden Square.
The offenders drove the car to the 16-year-old boy's address and picked him up. The court heard the boy took turns driving the stolen car before he was returned home.
The boy's defence lawyer told the court it had been an "exceptionally tumultuous" 18 months for the teen.
The lawyer said the boy had been using drugs and was exposed to family violence at the hands of his father.
But the lawyer told the court there had been a "positive shift" and the teen now had a "far more stable home life".
The lawyer submitted a good behaviour bond would be an appropriate sentence.
The magistrate told the teen if he was 18 years old, he would have sent him to a youth justice centre.
The magistrate said he would defer sentence for six months so the boy could show the court he was back on track.
"If you stuff this up in the next six months, I will lock you up," the magistrate said. "No excuses. You have an opportunity to prove you're not your father and that you're a good man."
The boy is due to return to the Children's Court in November. His bail was extended to that next court date.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: