Poppy Morandin & Jimmy Singh
A 14-year-old boy has been charged, following a tragic incident in which a single-vehicle car crash has led to the death of four teenagers in Townsville.
Two girls and two boys, reported to be between 13-18 years old lost their lives, after the stolen vehicle was driven onto the wrong side of the road and hit a traffic light pole.
Police had received reports that the car involved was stolen, earlier that morning.
Police have confirmed they were not pursuing the vehicle, with Superintendent Assistant District Officer Glen Pointingtelling reporters: “It looks like the vehicle has clipped a roundabout on Duckworth Street causing it to roll.”
“At no stage did the police pursue that vehicle or try to intercept that vehicle.”
Witnesses have speculated that the car was driving at speed of 120km/h before the accident.
The deaths have sparked a call to action, with concerns as to youth crime rates growing.
“All levels of government need to be involved if we are going to put an end to the juvenile crime epidemic.” said Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers.
Townsville MP Scott Stewart commented that the young lives lost should not be turned into “political point scoring.”
“As a government we’ve been listening to our community, looking at as many different ways as possible to address youth crime.”
As well as concerns, the deaths have prompted ugly and confronting backlash on social media, to which Palm Island mayor Mislam Sam has asserted that the families should “be allowed to grieve” without seeing such messages.
“This is such a tragedy. And such a huge social problem … young kids out on the streets in the early hours of the morning without any supervision. And the stealing of cars. Five families shattered. And not to mention the emergency response staff who see this terrible accident.” commented one user on the police conference shared by 7 News Townsville.
Whilst injured by the crash, the alleged driver has recovered, and has been remanded in custody.
It is alleged that the accused was released on bail two weeks prior to this incident, for unrelated offences.
No further application for bail was made, with the accused to face Townsville Children’s Court again on June 30.
The young boy has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, two counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and burglary and one count of possessing dangerous drugs.
In NSW, dangerous driving occasioning death carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, according to section 52A(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). This offence also carries a 3-years automatic licence disqualification period, or a discretionary minimum of 1-year disqualification.
The offence of Joyriding, also known as taking conveyance without consent of owner attracts up to 5-years imprisonment, prescribed by section 154A Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
A conveyance means any motor car, caravan, trailer, omnibus, motor or other bicycle, or any ship, or vessel, used or intended for navigation among other vehicles defined in section 154A.
Before you can be found guilty of ‘joyriding’ the prosecution must prove that you have knowingly driven the related vehicle without the consent of the owner.
Furthermore, a motor vehicle theft offence involves stealing a car, truck, ship or anything considered to be a ‘motor vehicle’ defined by Section 154E Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
A motor vehicle theft offence involves a further requirement that the prosecution prove that at the time of taking it, that you intended to permanently deprive the owner of the possession.
It carries a similarly serious sentence of up to 10 years in jail and/or up to $11,000 fine, according to section 154F Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).