Corey Coombs, 19.
Corey Coombs, 19.

Violent duo avoid jail

A SPREE of thefts and a violent attack led to Christmas and birthdays behind bars but the end is near for a group of young Stanthorpe men as two pleaded guilty and one was refused bail at the Warwick District Court on Tuesday.

The group of four, which includes a 16-year-old juvenile who cannot be identified, faced almost 50 charges after they were arrested in December during a chance encounter with Warwick Police. They were pulled over for speeding and the officers noticed the car loaded with suspected stolen goods.

Driver Corey John Coombs, 19, and the juvenile pleaded guilty to charges which ranged from six counts of break and enter, attempted break and enter and burglary from a number of business premises in Stanthorpe, Warwick and Mt Tamborine (where food, alcohol and electrical goods were stolen). Both escaped jail sentences having spent 66 days behind bars since their arrest.

Coombs also pleaded guilty to drink driving while on a learner’s permit and obstructing police.

The juvenile pleaded guilty to two counts of public nuisance.

During one episode he returned an alcohol reading of 0.158 per cent atStanthorpe.

The Crown Public Prosecutor alleged the group caused $17,104 worth of damage as “much of the electrical goods stolen could not be resold due to damage” and urged Judge Leanne Clare to impose a prison term.Coombs, the 16-year-old and co-accused Damien James Lane’s defence counsel said “bravado of four young men turned into a spree” after a fishing trip at the Gold Coast.

The defence counsel spoke of Coombs’ “chequered upbringing” where he smoked marijuana as an 11-year-old and watched his mother battle drug addiction.

The court heard Coombs and the juvenile had started to pull their lives together since spending time in a cell, especially as it wouldn’t have been a “nice experience” turning 16 in jail.

“(The juvenile) made a concerted effort since his release from custody. It’s a sad submission to make but time in custody did him good,” the defence said.

“There was a marked improvement in him ... good food turned him into a healthy young man.”

Judge Clare said the pair escaped further jail time because of their age and “high prospects for rehabilitation” but Coombs was sentenced to a 12-month intensive correction order with drug and alcohol counselling and a conviction was recorded.

Even though the juvenile committed the crimes within three weeks of being released on a probation order, no conviction was recorded against him but he was sentenced to 18 months probation and 150 hours of unpaid community service.Judge Clare refused Lane’s bail application after his criminal history was heard.

The Crown Public Prosecutor said there was “concern he would re-offend”.

Lane, 20, has been in custody since the group was arrested in December. The prosecutor alleged the four had parked next to a van and demanded money and drugs from the man inside during the December rampage.

“Lane, with a baseball bat and singlet over head (threatening the man) ... smashed the window and tried to hit him ... Three then tried to roll the van, (pushing it) side-to-side with him inside.”

The fourth co-accused, Joshua James Templeman, celebrated his 21st birthday in custody but has no legal representation. His matters were adjourned to the next Toowoomba District Court sitting.

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