Don Dale fire teen a serial troublemaker, court told
ONE of two Don Dale detainees who set fire to a rival's cell in mid-2018 was also involved in the disturbance at the detention centre on Saturday night, a court has heard.
The teenager, who cannot be named, appeared in the Supreme Court on Monday as part of drawn-out sentencing proceedings stemming from the June 2018 arson attack.
Crown Prosecutor Jane Bochmann said the teen was among the detainees facing charges over the November 2018 riot and fire that saw the centre's school torched.
Ms Bochmann said the teen was also awaiting sentencing on charges in the Youth Justice Court after escaping custody while on a medical visit and fleeing to Katherine.
"That shows a young man who, albeit with all of the conditions referred to in the (psychiatric) report, has the ability and the forethought to escape from a medical visit, find another young person, involve themselves in the theft of a vehicle and drive themselves to Katherine," Ms Bochmann said.
The teenager's lawyer, Fiona Kepert, said her client was not a "miniature adult" and had a "complex mix" of mental health issues.
A psychiatric report said the teen "won't learn … from a longer and more severe sentence".
Ms Kepert said her client "wanted to go home" on the night of the fire.
"When these situations arise there he can see the possibility of getting out he does then participate," Ms Kepert said.
The court has previously heard the offending took place after detainees were told to get to return to their cells for bed.
Justice Peter Barr said: "He thought that there were too many lockdowns.
"That's part of being in detention, unfortunately."
Justice Barr said the teen would be released from custody "as soon as is appropriate".
"He could well thrive in the community but he's not going to thrive in custody."
Justice Barr will sentence the teen over the fire at a later date.