13-year-old wins bid to have police interview tossed
A 13-YEAR-OLD alleged criminal will have an interview with police excluded from legal proceedings after a court found the officer should not have heard the child's stepmother scolding the boy for not telling the truth.
The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of breaking into a car and stealing a mobile phone, a judgment handed down by the Childrens Court in Brisbane earlier this month said.
He also is alleged to have approached a woman at a shopping centre with another person, sprayed her in the face with deodorant before kicking and punching her while demanding her car keys.
The child was found hiding in bushes shortly after the alleged offence and was taken into custody but released, the Judgement said.
He returned to the police station with his stepmother the next day and was interviewed on 17 April 2019.
During the interview, officers questioned the child aggressively, the court was told during an application to have the record of interview excluded from evidence.
The court heard there was no interference from the child's stepmother, who was acting as a support person during the interview, when asked if she felt the officer was being intimidating.
"She replied that she did not think that but then soon after commented to the child that he was changing his story and lying," the judgement said.
"Later she said to the police: 'He has actually said things to us adults at home and I'm sitting there shaking my head cause he's not telling the truth'."
Lawyers for the teen argued his support person was inadequate, the record of interview was not voluntarily made and it would be unfair to allow it to be used.
The court also found the child was not asked if he was attending the station of his own free will and was not advised that whatever he said could be used against him.
The officer also failed to tell the boy he could speak with a lawyer if he wanted to, the court was told.
When the interview was suspended, the stepmother, rather than talking to the child alone, asked the police officer to stay for the discussion and scolded him for telling a different story to police, the court was told.
"The Crown has not shown that the stepmother understood her role as a support person, that the child had chosen her as his support person, or that she acted in a supportive way towards the child. She was entitled as his stepmother to be annoyed at him for telling a different version of events to the police but that did not fulfil her obligations as a support person," the court found, granting an application to have the interview excluded from future court proceedings.
The teen has not yet been required to enter a plea to stealing and robbery charges.
Originally published as 13-year-old wins bid to have police interview tossed