A Queensland father of a man who was killed by a repeat offender alongside his pregnant partner while they walked their dog is calling on the state government to do more to tackle youth crime.
The deaths of Kate Leadbetter, 31, and Matthew Field, 37, reignited the state’s youth crime debate, but two years on their family says the government has learned nothing.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Family of pregnant couple killed by repeat young offender calls for action.
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Leadbetter, who was six months pregnant, and Field died when they were fatally struck by a teenager who was driving a stolen car while they were out for a walk in suburban Brisbane on January 26, 2021.
The 17-year-old driver ran a red light at Alexandra Hills, colliding with a truck before rolling and hitting the engaged couple.
Last year, the driver was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with a non parole period of six years. However the Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman lodged an appeal against the sentence on the grounds it was inadequate.
7NEWS can reveal the teen driver is also set to appeal the sentence this year in a bid for early release.
Two years on, Field’s dad Russell Field says his family has witnessed juvenile crime spiral out of control in QLD.
Brisbane couple Matthew Field and Kate Leadbetter were killed by a teenager driving a stolen car on January 26, 2021.
The state government says it is committed to addressing the youth crime issue, with a 10-point reform plan set to be introduced when parliament returns in February.
It includes harsher penalties for offenders who boast of their crimes on social media, a higher maximum sentence for car thieves and judges will have to consider the histories of youth offenders when deciding on bail applications.
“Some of these young people have complex backgrounds and ... we need to help break that cycle of crime,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Monday.
However, Russell says it is not enough and is calling for an increase to minimum sentences and more consequences for actions.
“If (the laws are) not working, try something different,” he told 7NEWS.
“If that stops one fatality, one accident, one break and enter, that’s done its job.”
Russell Field is calling on the Queensland government to take more action against youth offenders two years on from the death of his son Matt Field and Matt’s pregnant partner Kate Leadbetter.
Russell says he hoped his family’s tragedy would be the catalyst needed for change within QLD’s youth justice system.
“If something was done then a lot of these events may not be happening in the last few months.”
More than half of young offenders subject to sentence supervision in Queensland were back in contact with the criminal justice system within 12 months, new data shows.
Programs delivered in detention are an opportunity to intervene in the cycle of re-offending, but delays in the court system were affecting access, Deputy Premier Steven Miles said on Tuesday.
Opposition leader David Crisafulli said the state was failing children at “both ends of the spectrum”.
“We are failing them early on, and they’re drifting into a life of crime, by not giving them employment and education and aspiration,” he said on Tuesday.
“Likewise, we’re failing them at the other end when they’re repeat hardcore offenders.”
- With reporting from Joel Dry and AAP
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