Bundy teen forced to rob house to repay rent debt
A BUNDABERG teenager who was ordered to help his housemates rob a home he was employed to build, in order to return his rent debt has been fined more than $1000 in court.
Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday heard Madison James Harvey, 18, plead guilty to entering a dwelling and committing an indictable offence and unlawful use of a motor vehicle after being party to a robbery of a duplex development in December last year.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Dean Burgess said at the time of the offences, Harvey had been working as an apprentice tiler at an Avoca construction site, and had just moved out of home.
But after weeks of not receiving Centrelink or any other payments, he fell behind on rent.
It was then his house mates gave him an ultimatum; "If you can't pay rent we're going to (steal) and you will help us”.
Harvey took the co-offenders, who have since been sentenced, to the duplex development he was working at.
He stole several garage door openers from one house which was empty and still under construction.
The two co-offenders then entered a nearby house, and made off with a laptop, electrical goods and cash.
Harvey's defence lawyer, Craig Ryan, told the court he didn't want to enter the second house with the co-offenders, and instead kept watch outside.
"He had lived with (these) youths he thought were his friends,” Mr Ryan said.
"He was a reluctant participant ... and thought if they went there they would see there was nothing there (and leave).
"He knew it was all going bad for him pretty much from the get go.”
Harvey was also a passenger in a car he knew was stolen.
Mr Ryan said Harvey accepted he had breached the trust of not just his employer but his parents, who had helped him find the job.
Magistrate Bronwyn Hartigan said if Harvey wanted to get into the Australian Army he needed a clean criminal history.
"You were only party to the other two offences, but you are just as criminally responsible (as the co-offenders),” Ms Hartigan said.
"Your offences seem out of character ... If you come back here, your future will be ruined and that will be on you, not the courts.” Harvey was fined $1000, with $183 restitution. No conviction was recorded.