Steven Emile appeared in the Avarua High Court on Friday, represented by defence counsel Mark Short charged with one count of burglary and one of common assault.
The court was told Emile had been known to police since before he was 14. At that point, a judge had placed him on three years’ probation after Emile had committed numerous serious offences.
On Friday he appeared before Justice of the Peace Georgina Williams and was told the charges he faced could result in a maximum 10 years’ jail.
Police said the burglary charges, which had been investigated by the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), had occured over a period of six months.
Prosecution recommended Emile be remanded in custody immediately.
Police Prosecutor Senior Sergeant Fairoa Tararo said Emile had proved he was at risk of re-offending
“The defendant appeared in this court a couple of years back and he was placed on strict probation conditions,” he said.
“He was placed on 12 months’ curfew as well as three years’ probation. His young age was a major concern for the judge and a driving factor behind his non-custodial sentence.
“But he continues to re-offend; It is clear he hasn’t learned. The three years’ probation that he was placed on has not deterred him from offending.
“Now he is facing multiple serious charges, and they each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, if he is found guilty.
“On top of all that he is facing a charge of common assault, and I believe that will be his second assault charge,” Tararo said.
He then asked that Emile be remanded in custody until October 12.
Short countered that his client had a job and had responsibilities that would be affected if he was remanded in custody.
“At the end of the day the defendant has had quite a difficult life,” Short said.
“He has been without his parents for quite some time. He has bounced from family to family over the past few years.
“If he is to be remanded in custody, then I ask that we have the shortest adjournment possible.”
Williams said she did not like the idea of putting a 16-year-old in prison.
Addressing the defendant, she said, “I am going to try and help you. But you need to promise me you are not going to get into trouble.
“I don’t want to put you in with the other prisoners, you are far too young and you might learn some new tricks. You need help; you haven’t had the best start in life. But this is serious. When you do things like this we have no option but to put you in there (prison).
“You are 16 now, not 14.
“You stand there and cry, but imagine the people you are stealing things from and breaking into their houses. They probably sit there and cry their hearts out as well.
“You are lucky you have defence counsel who is able to help you out and keep an eye on you for the next three weeks.
“You have one chance. Do not offend again and give your lawyer a chance to fight for you,” Williams said.
Emile was placed on a strict curfew, under which he can only leave the home where he is staying for work.
The matter was adjourned till October 19.
“And Steven (Emile) listen.You are running out of chances. This is it.”