'Coward hoon' sent to jail

A 22-YEAR-OLD “hoon” who knocked a boy off his bike and sped away from the scene while driving without a licence spent last night behind bars.

Joel William Gates, of south Bundaberg, yesterday pleaded guilty to driving without a licence, failing to comply with driver duties and failing to give way at a T-intersection on July 28.

Bundaberg Magistrates Court was told Gates, who was on probation for other driving offences, hit a 13-year-old boy riding his bike along Targo Street.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens said witnesses told police the vehicle stopped at first and then sped away without checking on the health of the child.

“The child was knocked off the bike and was able to give the direction and a brief description of the vehicle,” Sgt Stevens said.

The prosecutor said police found the vehicle on a side street off Walker Street.

“The defendant made full admissions and said he was afraid to remain at the scene because he was driving while disqualified,” Sgt Stevens said.

“From his history, it is quite apparent he is a hoon.”

Sgt Stevens said Gates showed “scant regard” for his probation order.

“He has cowardly left the scene and taken actions to hide the vehicle not at his home address,” Sgt Stevens said, before asking that Gates receive a jail sentence.

Defence lawyer Rian Dwyer said his client was driving after going to help his friend who had been caught shoplifting.

“He instructs he did want to get out and assist the child,” Mr Dwyer said.

“When police became involved, he made full admissions.”

Mr Dwyer said his client had found himself in trouble since the death of his mother and had now realised he needed to “do something” about his behaviour.

Magistrate Jennifer Batts sentenced Gates to three months' jail, with parole release on October 13.

“The circumstances surrounding these offences are very serious indeed,” Magistrate Batts said.



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