A shitty 14 year old burglar gets stuck in a holding cell. So what?

via Stuff

A Youth Court judge has visited the “barren and desolate” police cell where a 14-year-old charged with robbery has been held for days.

Judge Jane McMeeken said it was “outrageous” the boy should continue to be held in a cell at the Christchurch Central Police Station since his arrest last weekend because there were no youth justice beds available.

She has put the Ministry of Social Development on notice that the youth will be bailed on Thursday morning at the next Youth Court sitting, unless proper accommodation can be found.

The boy is one of about 11 young people around in country who are in police cells because there are no youth justice residence beds available.

The boy was back in the Youth Court on Wednesday for a third time being remanded by Judge McMeeken with police opposing bail. He first appeared on Monday morning on charges of aggravated robbery and unlawfully taking a car.

The judge spoke to him on Tuesday about what he was doing all day in the cell, what food he was eating, and whether he could take a shower.

She went to see him in the police cells on Tuesday afternoon.

“I make absolutely no criticism at all of the police. In my view they are doing all that they can to ensure that he is properly cared for while he is in their custody.

“The stark reality, however, is that the police cells in Christchurch are not made for people to be held in for days at a time. They have certainly not been made to hold young people.”

Well, diddums.   Most 14 year olds won’t be in those barren and desolate places because they’re not stealing stuff from their hard working neighbours.  

The cell was barren and desolate, she said. There is nothing in it at all apart from a mattress on a raised platform and toilet facilities. There is no natural light, no exercise yard, no specially designed visitors’ rooms, or a day room.

“It is inappropriate by any measure that he be detained in a police cell,” the judge said.

The youth had been found to be in need of care and protection. “In those circumstances it is outrageous that he should continue to be held in a police cell.”

He needed monitoring and assistance but none of that could be provided while he was being held in a police cell.

She also made no criticism of the very hard working social workers. It was not their fault or responsibility that there was no residence available, but it had reached the point where it was untenable the youth be held any longer in a police cell.

The judge “put the ministry on notice” that the teen would have to be bailed on Thursday. By then, she expected the Ministry of Social Development to have some option for him.

Because of the large number of young people awaiting beds, if the youth was not bailed he may stay in the police cells for several more days, she said.

Good.  That will make the scrote think twice before trying to rip of some other kid’s iPad.

Since when do we want our criminals to be in an exciting and stimulating environment awaiting trial?   And it’s better to have a life changing experience early on.  At that age, it can still make a difference.


– Stuff

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.