Bundy justice: Juvenile crime doesn’t pay ... but victims do
NO ONE should ever be made to feel unsafe in their own house but, for Ian Finnis, his home is no longer his.
Before he retired, Mr Finnis spent 47 years saving other people's lives as an ambulance officer.
But his own life was destroyed when three juvenile intruders broke into the pensioner's property in the early hours one morning in March.
The 75-year-old attempted to chase and tackle one offender who then cowardly turned on the elderly homeowner and physically beat him. Mr Finnis's substantial injuries included a fractured nose, eye sockets, ribs, two hernias and emotional wounds that will never heal.
The offenders were handed a slap on the wrist, only ordered to apologise. At this point, only one of them has done so.
Mr Finnis feels like he has a life sentence.
"Every night is a nightmare, I get two or three hours sleep a night now and it has destroyed my life completely," he said.
"The courts are too lenient and made no decision on punishment, worked with us through the juvenile system and the punishment we came up with was considered too harsh so we're back to square one.
"I don't believe they should be trialled as adults, but I think first offence, put them on a good behaviour bond and if they break that, they front the court and are sent to a juvenile system or trained in the army and taught a few manners."
Mr Finnis said he couldn't praise police enough. But all that hard work was for nothing and the court system had failed the community.
"Until they turn 18, they know they can get away with anything they like because there's no conviction recorded against them until that point," Mr Finnis said.
"If you're 16, you can get a driver's license in nine months, so you should be responsible."
Opposition corrective services spokesman Trevor Watts said juvenile crime in the Bundaberg area had risen the Palaszczuk government was elected.
He blamed a budget cut and reduced police force - a claim the minister rejects.
"Unfortunately in Bundaberg there's been a 28 per cent increase in assault, 67 per cent increase in break and enter, 79 per cent of unlawful use of a motor vehicle," Mr Watts said.
"Since the Labor government has been elected, we have seen the number of police drop per 100,000 people in Queensland so we now have 610 (fewer) police officers than we should have if the ratio was kept the same as when the LNP was in.
"Governments are all about setting priorities and the Labor government obviously doesn't care about law and order or people's personal safely, because if they did they would spend more of their budget on funding police and they haven't."
"Last year the budget was cut by $40 million and this year the budget has gone up but unfortunately it's no where near the level that is was at when the LNP (was) in government, in fact $230 million less an annum."
Member for Bundaberg David Batt, a former police officer, said juvenile crime rates had increased significantly over the last six months.
"Victims of serious crimes have had their homes broken into and been assaulted and these juveniles are walking away with no punishment whatsoever because they are under the age of 18." Mr Batt said.
"The breach of bail offence has been removed by the Labor government and under the LNP, the breach of bail as an offence saw less crimes committed by juveniles."
Mr Batt said the LNP was committed to reinstating the breach of bail offence for juveniles if elected next year.
Police and Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan said he was sorry to hear about the incident concerning Mr Finnis, but "it is disappointing to see LNP holding out false hope about matters of law and order given their appalling track record."
"The LNP in government failed to properly fund police and give them the resources to do their job," Mr Ryan said.
"In contrast, thanks to the ongoing investments of the Palaszczuk government, there are more police in Queensland than ever before, they're better equipped than ever before, and there are more being recruited and trained."