Natasha Rudra August 29, 2012
The parents of the man who killed university student Clea Rose in 2005 have told a court he has changed and wants to make the right choices in life.
The ACT Supreme Court heard the young man had a transformed attitude and wanted to attend drug rehabilitation and rebuild his life once released from prison.
But the prosecution has argued his parents’ hopes for reform were “wishful thinking” and the man was an unapologetic and persistent offender.
The man was just 15 when he struck and killed Clea Rose in 2005 in a stolen car during a police pursuit.
He is now being sentenced for a string of further offences, including multiple burglaries and stealing a car.
The young man was on parole and on bail when he broke into three Canberra homes and stole jewellery and other items in 2010.
The Canberra Times has chosen to refer to the man’s role in the death of Ms Rose and therefore cannot name him because he was a juvenile at the time.
In court the man’s parents said his behaviour had caused them distress and shame but they fully supported him and were willing to help him change his life.
The man’s mother said she visited him regularly in prison and he had spoken of the mistakes he made in his life and how he wanted to change.
She said her son had applied for a place in a drug rehabilitation program.
“He talks about getting a job and making the right choices in his life and I truly believe he will,” she said.
The man’s father said he had noticed a change in his son over the past 18 months and had secured a job as a welder for him when he was released.
Defence barrister Amanda Tonkin told the court her client had turned a corner in his life and had insight into his behaviour.
He had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunities, had completed courses while in jail and was committed to rehabilitation.
She also told the court the man suffered “extra curial punishment” because he was identified in the media as Ms Rose’s killer each time he was sentenced for new crimes.
Ms Tonkin said a psychiatric report showed the media attention had caused the man to become “very conscious of the events of 2005” and he suffered depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.
But Justice John Burns said the man was not named in the press in relation to the 2005 events because to do so would be an offence.
Prosecutor Trent Hickey told the court that the evidence from the man’s parents was understandable but had an element of “wishful thinking”.
He said the man had been given chances to change his life in the past and failed to grasp them.
Mr Hickey pointed to pre-sentence reports which showed the man displayed little remorse for his crimes and appeared to be an unapologetic and persistent offender.
Justice Burns will hand down his sentence in October.