Queensland Premier laughs about stabbing murder of grandmother by black youths
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QLD - African youth charged over grandmother knife murder was on bail for robbery at the time

Screenshot 2024-02-07 at 6.48.11 am

The alleged teen killer of a Queensland grandmother was on bail for robbery when he allegedly stabbed the 70-year-old in a car park on Saturday night.

The 16-year–old appeared in Ipswich Children’s Court on Tuesday charged with the stabbing death of former religious instruction teacher Vyleen White in front of her six-year-old granddaughter at the Town Square Redbank Plains Shopping Centre, west of Brisbane.

The alleged teenage killer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged last year with robbery offences.

Sources have told The Australian that police had late last year opposed bail for the teenager and that he was later released.

Ms White was allegedly stabbed in the chest in the underground car park of an Aldi at the busy shopping centre on Saturday evening. Police allege it was to steal the woman’s 2009 Hyundai Getz.

The teenager from Bellbird Park, found by police at an apartment complex on Monday after an extensive search, has also been charged with three counts of stealing and one charge of unlawful use of her vehicle.

Four other boys, aged 15 and 16, each face one count of unlawful use of a motor vehicle. One has been charged with possessing tainted property.

The revelation about the release of the alleged teen killer is likely to fuel calls for tougher bail laws in Queensland.

Following a horror Australia Day crash that killed a young Brisbane couple Kate Leadbetter and Matt Field and their unborn child in 2021, the government removed the presumption of bail for repeat juvenile offenders charged with serious offences.

Under the laws, youths charged with serious crimes while on bail - such as breaking and entering, robbery or assault - have to prove to a court they are not a risk to community safety in order to be granted bail.

A second suite of reforms, passed by parliament last year after the Boxing Day stabbing murder of Emma Lovell, reintroduced controversial breach-of-bail penalties for juvenile offenders.

Young offenders face up to two years’ imprisonment for breaching bail conditions under the reforms, which controversially override the state’s human right’s act.

At a media club lunch on Tuesday, Queensland premier Steven Miles said it was unfair to say that the murder of Mrs White could have been prevented.

“I’ve heard some politicians get very close to saying that they’d guarantee they could have prevented this murder,’’ he said.

“That’s a pretty incredible statement to be trying to make. Nobody anywhere in the world has eliminated all violent crime.

“But what we have is a plan to be tough, and a plan to break the cycle of offending.”

Mr Miles said his government did not plan to make changes to the state’s youth justice laws ahead of the October election but would consider requests for harsher laws from police.

“What I know is that we are putting more police into the community and that the laws we have in place are the laws that the police helped us craft,” he said.

“If we need to do more, then we will do more. But nobody can seriously stand up and say they could have prevented this.”

But Mr Miles said journalists should have greater access to court proceedings involving alleged child criminals after media were barred from covering a teenager’s appearance over the alleged murder.

The bid was denied, with similar applications to hear the cases of four other juveniles police have linked to the alleged crime also rejected at Brisbane and Beenleigh Childrens Courts.

Queensland law prohibits media from covering closed court matters if their presence prejudices the interests of the child.

Mr Miles accused magistrates of “carrying too much on the side of not allowing journalists”.

“I can see that there are reasons why magistrates should, on a case-by-case basis, be able to make that assessment,” Mr Miles said.

“But I think they’re making the assessment too often not to have reporters there.

“I’d certainly look for ways to encourage magistrates to consider making the courts more open.

“It’s good for scrutiny on our court processes, but also good for helping you do your job within translating to the community, what happens in those courtrooms.”

Ipswich acting magistrate Robert Turra, who heard the media’s application, said prior coverage of CCTV footage released by Queensland Police in the early stages of the investigation could lead to the boy’s identification and put him and the community at risk.