Constable Peter McAulay outside Brisbane Supreme Court this week. Picture: Richard Gosling/AAP
Constable Peter McAulay outside Brisbane Supreme Court this week. Picture: Richard Gosling/AAP

Cop’s message to teen crim who changed his life

MOWED down by a young thug in a stolen car, young constable Peter McAulay was left for dead, suffering unspeakable injuries.

A year later the 25-year-old still can't work or even ride a bike - his life changed forever.

The young hoon however, will be out of jail by March.

"There is a lack of respect,'' Constable McAulay told The Courier-Mail of juvenile criminals.

"They have no fear of repercussions.

"They know there is not going to be any punishment.''

Constable McAulay, who was laying tyre spikes to stop the speeding car in September last year when he was hit, said he hoped that the teenager who hit him would have his sentence increased.

"It's turned my life upside down. I should have been dead,'' he said of the traumatic incident that left him with broken bones, spinal injuries, a dislocated knee and in an induced coma for days.

The offender, 17, who pleaded guilty in August to a malicious act causing grievous bodily harm was sentenced to three years in jail but will be out in March.

"It's set a benchmark - that for one of the worst offences a juvenile can commit, you get a year-and-a-half in custody,'' the former Goodna police officer said.

"If they look at it from that perspective, (juveniles) could think it's the worst that can happen to you.''

The stolen car that struck Constable McAulay
The stolen car that struck Constable McAulay

 

Police investigators at the scene
Police investigators at the scene

Constable McAuley sat in the Court of Appeal on Thursday, as Carl Heaton QC, for the Attorney-General, urged the judges to increase the juvenile's sentence to five years.

Mr Heaton, who said the sentence was too low because the offending was too serious, also asked that he be ordered to serve 70 per cent of that sentence.

He said the maximum penalty was 10 years, and the juvenile's offending fell within the most serious category of malicious act.

But Robert East, representing the offender, who spent 11 months in custody before his sentence, said it was not excessive and he would be on a supervision order after release.

Mr East said in reducing the period to be served behind bars, the judge considered the juvenile's early plea, acceptance of responsibility, remorse, lack of prior convictions and background.

He asked the appeal court to order that a conviction not be recorded, so it would not be held against the offender for life, like an "indelible tattoo''.

Constable McAulay recovers in a wheelchair.
Constable McAulay recovers in a wheelchair.

 

Constable McAulay bears the scars of his ordeal
Constable McAulay bears the scars of his ordeal

Constable McAulay said some young offenders had no respect for the court system or police and police hands were tied about what they could do.

"I understand what the judges and the justice system say, that if he can be rehabilitated and become a working member of society, it's wrong to deny that opportunity,'' he said after the appeal.

"But only time will tell whether he comes to the realisation of what he is as a person or he commits other offences.''

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said it had been a growing trend with juvenile offenders across Queensland to no longer show any respect for police.

"It seems they are willing to go to extreme lengths to commit offences and avoid apprehension," he said.

Constable McAulay, who still suffers from the impact of his brain and physical injuries, will return to work in January - 16 months after he was injured.

Constable McAulay (second from left) outsude Brisbane Supreme Court with (from left) Assistant Commissioner Cam Harsley, Queensland Police Union assistant general secretary Shayne Maxwell and Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler. Picture: Richard Gosling/AAP
Constable McAulay (second from left) outsude Brisbane Supreme Court with (from left) Assistant Commissioner Cam Harsley, Queensland Police Union assistant general secretary Shayne Maxwell and Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler. Picture: Richard Gosling/AAP

After having 10 operations he still suffers daily from pain in his knee, he cannot bend his leg past 65 to 70 degrees and cannot straighten it.

He has had a partial denture to replace four lost upper teeth and he has a hearing aide because of mid-to-moderate hearing loss in his left ear.

Constable McAulay, also an army reservist, can no longer run, ride a bicycle or his motorcycle or pursue the adventure activities he previously enjoyed, such as skiing and skydiving.

"I'll find new hobbies and new passions,'' said the young officer, who credits his positive attitude to his remarkable recovery.

While he has been medically cleared to return to work, Constable McAulay, who still loves being a police officer, hopes to be given a job that is not too cognitively or physically demanding.

As for the young offender who changed his life, he says: "Ultimately my hope for him is to realise the mistake he has made and to reintegrate into the community.''


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