How Bowen teen’s childhood started cycle of self-destruction
A teenager will spend another two weeks in jail after breaching her bail the day after she was released from police custody and committing a string of other offences.
Amber Josephine Flack appeared by videolink in Bowen Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told the court Flack was given bail with the condition that she live at a Bowen address and be fitted with a tracking device the day after being released from custody in December.
However, the court heard Flack never showed up at Whitsunday Police Station to have the device fitted and could not be found at her bail address.
Sgt Myors said in early January Flack, who was on a suspended jail sentence, then committed other offences.
Flack was caught on CCTV footage driving a vehicle that had been reported stolen and the 19-year-old woman had never held a driver's licence.
Sgt Myors said police then saw the car parked on a Bowen street but a circuit breaker had been added, possibly to allow the car to be easily hot-wired.
The driver-side door was also damaged and the windscreen was cracked.
Sgt Myors said Flack was also caught on CCTV footage stealing a battery from Supercheap Auto in Cannonvale to repair the car after it broke down.
The court heard Flack was arrested on January 13 and had been in police custody ever since.
Sgt Myors said Flack had shown a "blatant disregard" for her court sentences and bail conditions.
"It seems she had no intention of complying with bail and committed offences knowing she was subject to that suspended sentence," Sgt Myors said.
Flack pleaded guilty to multiple offences including unlawful use of a motor vehicle, stealing and breaching bail.
Lawyer Peta Vernon, for Flack, said the teen had a troubled childhood and never really had a family to call her own.
The court heard Flack had been expelled from school by Year 10 and while she had obtained certificates in hospitality and technology since then, she had struggled with drug use for a while.
Ms Vernon said Flack had also suffered bouts of homelessness.
"Essentially she comes back into Bowen and falls back into the same people … she's stuck in a cycle of self-destructive behaviour," Ms Vernon said.
Ms Vernon explained Flack had been released on bail at 9pm in Townsville, put up in a motel for the night and then given a bus ticket to Bowen.
But as she needed to get the tracking device fitted at Whitsunday Police Station in Cannonvale, she had no way of getting there.
Ms Vernon said Flack had reconnected with her dad and was planning to relocate to Brisbane to be closer to him.
Magistrate James Morton noted the irony of Flack's inability to have the tracking device fitted.
"People like Ms Flack can steal a battery for a car, use that car and get fuel and get around," Mr Morton said.
"But when she has got something lawful to do, she cannot do it, for her own freedom."
Mr Morton told Flack drugs, stealing and a life of crime was not going to get her anywhere.
The courtroom saw Flack break down in tears on the videolink screen.
"There is an old saying that children are a product of their parents, sadly, your parents have not been there for you," Mr Morton said.
"You have found yourself in and out of trouble hanging out with the users and abusers.
"Four walls, wash basin and prison cell. You have done this at your own doing."
Mr Morton said Flack had been given opportunities in the past, but they had not worked.
He told her if she was going to get on track, she would need to do it herself.
Flack's suspended sentence was fully activated and she was sentenced to a total of eight months' jail.
She was also disqualified from driving for two years and no restitution was ordered.
Flack was given a parole release date of February 23.
"I have given you many options in the past to try and keep you out of custody, you have made a fist of it," Mr Morton said.
"If you have not enjoyed your time in custody you are going to have to make something of it."