@ John and Surprised! Mr Voller’s criminal history is a matter …

Comment on Copping ‘mental and physical abuse’ on top of serving time: Dylan Voller’s evidence to the NT Royal Commission by Kieran Finnane.

@ John and Surprised!

Mr Voller’s criminal history is a matter of public record and made up part of his written evidence submitted to the Royal Commission. It is too lengthy to list here but his current sentence of three years and eight months is for attempted robbery (foiled by passers-by), aggravated robbery (in company and which included an assault, one punch by him), and recklessly endangering causing serious harm to a police officer (he drove at him in an accelerating car, causing lasting traumatic distress but no physical injury).

The offences were committed over a 24 hour period in February 2014, during which he was said to be under the influence of both alcohol and methamphetamine. At this time he had already served many periods of detention. According to his caseworker he was not then “capable of monitoring [his] behaviour” and needed intensive “therapeutic intervention”.

At sentencing Justice Barr detailed his past offending, describing it as “very substantial”. He said:

“I note that you are now almost 17 years old. You turn 17 in just under two months. Your offending was so serious that your youth will not have a significant mitigating effect on the separate head sentences I impose. Further, you have had so many opportunities in the past and have not responded to the leniency previously given to you by the court. You are not to be punished again for the long string of past offences I read out but you are not entitled to the leniency that would otherwise be accorded to a first or even second time youth offender.

“At the same time, because of the community interests in your rehabilitation, I consider that I should make some provision in your sentence for facilitating your rehabilitation should you prove to have reasonable or possibly good prospects as you mature. I am not presently able to assess those prospects, but I consider that I should allow for them.”

He did this by fixing a non-parole period of one year and eight months. Mr Voller has already served more than that. His application for parole in September was rejected by the Parole Board.

If he ends up serving his full sentence he will be eligible for release late next year.

By way of personal comment I add that our sentencing and incarceration system is premised in part on an individual’s capacity to change, which in fact the system is supposed to support through its programs.

Recent Comments by Kieran Finnane

No gaol for Peace Pilgrims: sentence
Phil, They did indeed suffer consequence, as the article above and the series of reports from the trials make clear. For victimless acts of civil disobedience they were tried under harsh Cold War era legislation, facing maximum penalties of seven years imprisonment. This hung over them for a year.
They were found guilty and were sentenced, proportionately to the nature of the offence and their circumstances. Fines ranged between $5000 and $1250. Considerable penalties for people who live their lives in voluntary simplicity, without substantial income, and in service of those in need.


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Thanks for the correction, Alex. I will amend the story accordingly.
I should also add that the demolition of the abandoned house, and the subsequent fencing of the site was done by way of compensation to custodians, after a telecom tower was erected on top of the range at the Gap without their permission.


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Mr Bell. This is what Mr McHugh said, after mentioning that there are limits on protests and referring to civil disobedience: “Notwithstanding, for example, what the Suffragettes did in giving women the vote in the early 1900s. Australia was one of the first countries in the world, I think, to allow that. There were civil disobedience matters in respect of those occurrences. Of course, the law has changed and so it should be.”
That sounds to me like a case for justifying civil disobedience rather than a case for accepting the limits to protest, which is what he was speaking to the jury about.


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Eden, are you aware of the Northern Institute’s research briefs, which can be found here:

http://www.cdu.edu.au/northern-institute/ni-research-briefs

Many of them deal with demographic issues. The last one specific to Alice Springs, however, seems to be from 2013.


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