The teenager alleged to have attempted to run down pedestrians on Swanston Street in Melbourne’s CBD on Grand Final Day using an SUV has been granted bail. The 15-year-old appeared before the Victorian Children’s Court today and the presiding judge deemed the boy was not a threat to the community. The court was told he suffered from a mental healthy disability and had a fascination with the military.
The Grand Final Day Car Rampage was one of three car attacks in Melbourne’s CBD this year and was the only one that did not cause death or injury. The teenage accused was arrested at the scene and charged with attempted murder. They called it a mental health incident and not terror related. CCTV footage was released today by the Herald Sun showing the SUV driving erratically and pedestrians attempting to stop it.
The granting of bail comes as the Victorian Government is being subject to extreme criticism of its handling of youth crime in the state and the courts are accused of being too soft on offenders. Just today Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton lambasted the Victorian Government and the state’s judiciary labelling them having a go soft approach.
In the wake of the teenage accused being granted bail the Victorian Government has defended its policies on law and order by stating that responsibility for the granting of bail resides with the courts and that they had reversed the presumption in favour of bail for certain offenses in a recent law and order reform package. Victorian Shadow Attorney-General John Pesutto has pledged to rewrite the state’s bail laws.
The Victorian Government also defended its current approach to tackling the state’s youth crime wave stating that it needed more than the simplistic approach of the federal government. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that Victoria’s Premier and Deputy Premier are away on holidays and the Police Commissioner is still on stress leave.
The timing of this bail hearing could not have come at worse time for the Andrews Government after previous month’s crime outbreak and it continues to be defensive rather than promise to get law and order in the state back under control.