Warning after police chase for teen with 35-page rap sheet

A TEEN with a 35-page rap sheet led police on a dangerous high-speed chase in a stolen car on the Mallee Highway before smashing into a tree, a court has heard.

The now 16-year-old, who cannot be identified, pleaded guilty to a string of offences when he faced a children’s court yesterday, after recently being released from custody in South Australia for related offending.

The magistrate told the boy he would need to stay out of trouble until October if he wanted a chance of avoiding further “harsh” consequences. 

The court heard the then 15-year-old and his 18-year-old brother stole a car from South Australia with the intention of driving it to see their uncle in NSW.

The boy drove the car into Victoria and refuelled at an Ouyen service station before taking off without paying.

While he was driving on the Mallee Highway near Ouyen, police tried to pull him over after clocking him speeding. 

But he speeded up, reaching almost 170 km/h on the highway, before losing police and turning off on a dirt road. The boy continued to speed along the road before smashing into a tree.

The boy and his brother ditched the badly damaged car and continued on foot back towards the Mallee Highway, before being found by police and arrested.

Defence counsel submitted that although it may sound lenient, in the circumstances a bond was appropriate given his time in custody for related offences in South Australia and progress he had made since. 

He said the boy had struggled with cannabis addiction and his father had recently died but he was working hard to get his life on track.

But the magistrate said given his criminal history – which spanned 35 pages – he would already have had a lot of intervention and was not convinced a bond was appropriate.

He said he was prepared to defer sentence to see whether the boy was serious about staying out of trouble.

“We’ll see if he’s really committed to this change of attitude,” he said. “If you fall back into offending in any way there will be consequences and they will be harsh.

“It doesn’t matter what temptations may be put in your way – you’d better resist it.”

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