50 offences: Accused killer teen’s shocking crime history
A teenager charged with the hit-and-run murders of a young couple recently pleaded guilty to about 50 offences - including car theft and robbery - but was only given a slap on the wrist.
The 17-year-old who allegedly mowed down a pregnant Kate Leadbetter and her partner Matty Field at Alexandra Hills was not sentenced to jail for the serious offences, which he committed before he was bailed on separate matters.
Instead, the teen was put on a "restorative justice order" - likely meaning he was ordered to discuss the crimes with the people most affected to understand the "impact" of his "actions".
He was later charged with separate driving offences and was on bail for those when he allegedly stole a car, ran a red light, hit a truck and ploughed into Ms Leadbetter, 31, and Mr Field, 37, as they walked their dogs.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday demanded to know why the alleged offender was not in custody.
A day after maintaining she would not comment on the state's bail laws while the police investigation was underway, Ms Palaszczuk said she wanted answers.
And she said she was open to strengthening bail laws, which have been termed "catch and release" by the LNP.
"The family and the community and I want answers," Ms Palaszczuk said while in Cairns.
"I want answers just like everyone else. I want to know why the courts allowed this young man out on bail.
"There will be a full coronial inquiry and this young man is now on murder charges, there will be a full court case and there will be a thorough police investigation.
Ms Palaszczuk said if there was anything more that could be down to strengthen the laws "we absolutely will".
"But last year we tightened up those laws where there was a presumption against bail, we tightened those laws so there's questions that need to be asked about why those laws weren't adhered to," she said.
State MP for Cairns Michael Healy said offenders who pose a risk to the community should be kept behind bars.
"The laws were strengthened last year to make it crystal clear that offenders who pose a risk to the community must be kept in custody, the community expects it, and I expect the same thing," Mr Healy said.
"As far as I am concerned we have strengthened those laws, and if any offender appearing before a court poses a risk to the community, magistrates must keep them in custody.
"These are decisions made by the judiciary."
The teenager was not sentenced to any term of imprisonment for around 50 charges, which included stealing cars, break and enter and robbery.
He was put on a restorative justice order, which generally involves a conference between the child who committed the crime and the people most affected.
They discuss what happened and the effect that crime had on the victim and what can be done to repair that harm.
The child can then agree to complete certain tasks to repair the harm they have done.
The Queensland Government website describes restorative justice as an effective tool in diverting children away from the criminal justice system.
"The child who has committed the offence can begin to understand the impact of their actions," the website says.
Police Minister Mark Ryan insisted he would "love to be able to say a lot about this offender" but would not put the pending murder trial in jeopardy.
Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said he realised family, friends and the community wanted to know "how the hell this happened".
"It's not without a desire to speak about difficult circumstances, but I am limited by law and proper procedure so as not to prejudice the prosecution and any subsequent legal matters as to what detail I can go to into any history that might relate to the offender and their background," he said.
He said reports the 17-year-old was on bail for "a large number of criminal offences" were not correct, but he wouldn't confirm whether the youth was on bail.
"All of these facts will be released when the courts allow it to occur in the weeks and months ahead," he said.
Mr Ryan, who last year blamed the judiciary for releasing too many young people on bail under previous, more lenient bail laws, said magistrates had changed their behaviour under strengthened laws.
"More young people are being remanded … but if laws need to change to make intentions clearer, to ensure community safety is the priority, then of course we'll look at that," he said.
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli demanded the government make breach of bail a specific offence.
"I made a commitment yesterday when I went to the crash site and met Kate's aunty and uncle, I made a commitment to them to leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of this," he told a press conference on the Sunshine Coast.
He said he wasn't interested in "making political hay" out of the tragedy, but the family and community deserved answers.
"From this tragedy comes a terrible platform to push for change," Mr Crisafulli said.
"This has to be a conversation we have to have about our Youth Justice Act we have in this state."
He said breach of bail should be a specific offence "because how can you expect a young person to comply.
Originally published as 50 offences: Accused killer teen's shocking crime history