Teen released early for good behaviour

A 16-year-old Invercargill teenager who punched a police officer about five times in the head has been released early from a youth justice residence.

The teen appeared before Judge Andrew Becroft, New Zealand's Principal Youth Court Judge, in the Invercargill Youth Court yesterday for an early release hearing.

In December, he was sentenced to six months' supervision with residence for several charges.

They included driving with a breath-alcohol level of 315mcg (limit for under-20s is zero), reckless driving, driving while disqualified and forbidden, failing to stop for police, assaulting police, resisting police, unlawfully taking a vehicle and attempting to unlawfully take a vehicle and common assault.

Police and Child, Youth and Family representatives in court yesterday supported the teen's early release because of his good behaviour during the sentence.

The police summary of facts, which was not read in court yesterday, says the teen was driving a vehicle in the early hours of November 1 when police noticed a headlight was out.

Before police stopped the car it sped up and police activated sirens. The vehicle continued to increase speed, drove through an intersection and across four lanes before stopping, the summary says.

The driver reversed, rammed the front corner of the police vehicle and scraped along the side of it. The police vehicle required panel repairs.

He continued driving at about 140kmh in a 50kmh zone. He then stopped the vehicle and ran but was pursued on foot by police.

The teen confronted police, swearing and punching at the officer. He struggled violently and punched an officer about the head with a closed fist four to five times, the summary says.

The officer suffered bruising and abrasions to his head, face and hands and required medical treatment.

Young people subject to a supervision with residence order are entitled to an early release after completing two-thirds of the order subject to good behaviour and compliance with certain criteria throughout the sentence.

Judge Becroft yesterday granted the teen's release from Te Puna Wai remand centre in Christchurch and ordered him to undertake a six- month supervision plan, which included not to consume drugs, alcohol or legal highs and a curfew.


The Southland Times