Judge gives streetkid and his dad a chance

July 25, 2014 | By More

Court House-general 3A teenager raised on the streets has been given one last chance by a judge in an effort to sort out his chaotic life.

The teen’s dad was making an appearance at the same sentencing session, and he got a chance, too.

Shadden Markus Dobbs, aged 17, will be closely monitored by the Probation Service and by Christchurch District Court Judge Raoul Neave in the months ahead.

The judge will get six-weekly reports on his progress. He warned Dobbs today what would happen if he didn’t co-operate with the help arranged for him. “I’ll get you back and I’ll send you to prison. That’s your options,” he told the experienced streetkid.

Dobbs was before the court in January on a charge of receiving earnings from an under-age girl working as a prostitute. He was given a sentence of 200 hours of community work.

He didn’t do the community work, and he pleaded guilty today to another charge of assisting a girl aged under 18 to provide sex services.

He was also being sentenced on charges of being unlawfully in a building, failing to answer bail, and breaching community work.

Judge Neave said Dobbs had been effectively raised on the streets, a tragic state of affairs. He could understand that when you were wondering where your next meal or bed was going to be found, doing community work or other court sentences would not have a high priority.

His attitude with probation had been “I don’t care”.

“Maybe you don’t care much about yourself because you have had very little care up to now.Maybe I am doing those who raised you a disservice because they have had a struggle with their own lives.”

Judge Neave said Dobbs’ life had been “a vicious circle, spiralling downwards”.

The authorities had difficulties finding him, but he now did have a place to live, and a girlfriend.

He placed Dobbs on intensive supervision for two years, but did not sentence him on most charges to leave them hanging over him.

He ordered Dobbs to undertake a health assessment as directed by probation. “I suspect there are mental and possibly other health issues.”

He must also live and work where the probation officer directs, co-operate with efforts to get on a benefit, take assessment, counselling, treatment, or educational courses as directed, and attend regular judicial monitoring.

The judge set an effective sentencing date in December, but Dobbs will be under close monitoring in the meantime.

Later in the day, Judge Neave sentenced Dobbs’ father, Brett Terrance Dobbs, on charges of being found unlawfully in a building, and breaching release conditions. He also sentenced him to two years’ intensive supervision with special conditions.

“There are few things more depressing for a judge than sentencing a father and son on the same day for the same type of offending,” he told Dobbs Senior. “If I find you have been leading your son astray in the future, that will not go down well.”

Father and son sat together awaiting their paperwork so they could be released from the Court House.

Category: Focus

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