Thursday, 24 April 2008

Girl who bashed policeman walks free

A teenage girl accused of instigating a vicious beating of an off-duty police officer and his girlfriend on the Gold Coast has walked free from court.

Tiani Slockee, 18, had pleaded guilty to two counts of grievous bodily harm in the attack on Constable Rawson James Armitage and Michelle Renee Dodge at Coolangatta in November last year.

Slockee was the alleged ringleader of almost a dozen youths who kicked and punched the couple, inflicting severe bruising and lacerations.

Southport District Court Judge John Newton placed Slockee on two years' probation, noting she had already spent 91 days in custody.

Slockee and Harley Lee Trindall, 18, along with seven other minors who cannot be named, were all sentenced after pleading guilty.

The harshest sentence was reserved for Trindall, who punched Constable Armitage.

He was sentenced to nine months in jail.

The court had earlier been told of the viciousness of the bashing, which crown prosecutor Stuart Shearer likened to an animal attack.

Const Armitage's head was stomped on while he lay unconscious and Ms Dodge had tufts of her hair pulled out by teenage girls as she tried to call for help.

Judge Newton sentenced each of the accused separately, with Trindall the only person to be sentenced to jail time.

Two boys, aged 15 and 16, who both admitted kicking Const Armitage in the head, received sentences of 15 months to be served in a juvenile detention centre.

The other youths, including a 17-year-old boy and three girls aged between 14 and 17, were given varying punishments, including probation orders and hours of community service.

After a full day of hearing sentencing recommendations yesterday, Judge Newton directed his opening remarks today to the nine youths seated in his courtroom.

"You have all committed serious offences of violence against two members of the public," he told them.

"Yesterday, the learned crown prosecutor categorised your behaviour in very strong terms, with words `gutless', `cowardly' and so forth and indeed even your own advocates recognised the sickening nature of your conduct.

"Let me just say this, you have brought disgrace and shame on yourselves, your families and your peers by what you have done.

"You have absolutely nothing to feel proud of."

Slockee was the only one to make a comment as she walked from court with her grandmother, and said: "I am very, very sorry."

Gold Coast police acting Inspector Matt Rosevear, speaking on behalf of the victims, said Const Armitage had accepted the judge's ruling.

"He believes the sentences have been just and obviously the ruling by the judge is what we abide by," he told reporters.

A mother of one of the teenagers said they had all been deeply affected by the event.

"Kids become separate from their victims and once they heard what the victims went through they were incredibly sorry," she said.

"They're deeply sorry and I think this is going to change all of their lives."

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