@ 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

NT closing borders to interstate arrivals
@Surprised!
There are features we already know about the coronavirus that distinguish it from the flu.

The ABC’s Health and Wellbeing offers a clear explainer here.

Some of the salient points:

•The new coronavirus is about twice as contagious as influenza.

•It is about 10 times more deadly than seasonal flu, which is already estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people globally every year.

•Unlike the flu, for which we have anti-viral medicines and vaccines, there are currently no licensed vaccines or drugs for COVID-19.

This is why, if left uncontained, the new coronavirus would overwhelm our health system, which is what the social controls, imperfect as they may be, are seeking to avoid.

Kieran Finnane, senior writer, moderator


Town library, pool close; non-essential Council events cancelled
@Evelyne Roullet. According to the events calendar on the Council website, the Todd Mall markets have been SUSPENDED until further notice.


Dujuan’s moving story and its missing pieces
@ Elliat Rich: My review clearly accepts that Dujuan’s family love him. It gives space to his voice, both with direct quotes and an account of some of his experiences. He impressed me and touched me. And I feel strongly hopeful for him, given his many qualities and especially as his family seem to have found a way to help him stay safe and thrive.
However, the film asks more of its audience than empathetic and grateful witnessing. The campaign around it, which calls for specific ameliorating actions to some of the situations we see exposed in the film, makes that clear.
Even without it though, it would be a rather insouciant viewer, especially if they lived in Alice Springs, who would leave the cinema without wanting to think about what can be better done to support Dujuan and children like him. What changes might that require, in the schools, in the justice system, and more broadly, on the streets, in our neighbourhoods, in our families and our social relationships, in our politics?
My review argues that the film, for all its merits, avoids dealing with some parts of the picture that would be necessary to progress this thinking – important for the town right now, all of us, and most of all the children.


Dujuan’s moving story and its missing pieces
@Local1. The “televised violence” I refer to is indeed the scene described earlier in the article, occurring at Aranda House in December 2010, when Dylan Voller was 13 years old. The guard who physically restrained Voller in this scene was charged with aggravated assault and he was acquitted. That decision was appealed by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the appeal was dismissed. I reported in detail on this case in July 2016, ‘Actions of guard found to ensure “safety of Dylan Voller”’.

I stand by what I wrote at the time, that the acquittal “will not answer all of the questions the public have about this incident, including the non-legal question of whether this is any way to deal with a troubled youth no matter how provoking his behaviour”.

In the film review above, I use the term violence in its everyday meaning.


Cr Auricht: All the way with USA on fate of Assange
Some commenters are assuming that the Alice Springs Town Council has come to a decision to write to the Federal Government in support of repatriating Assange. The vote on a motion to do so will come at the end of the month meeting (February 24). The mood in the chamber on February 10, as reported, would not have delivered a majority in favour.


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