'I don't know if you know but I'm Aboriginal too'
WHILE presiding over Warwick District Court, Queensland's first indigenous judge connected with a boy to urge him to turn his life around.
Judge Nathan Jarro told the 14-year-old boy, who pleaded guilty to lighting two fires, they shared the same heritage and encouraged the boy to put himself onto the right path.
"I don't know if you know but I'm an Aboriginal too, I've got connections to Wakka Wakka country,” Judge Jarro said.
"You have the opportunity while you're still young to make a good living for yourself and get a good education or you can do what those silly people do and keep committing crimes. I hope that this is really going to be a turning point in your life.”
The teen pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering property by fire.
Crown prosecutor Chontelle Farnsworth said in September last year, the boy used a lighter to start the fire in a backyard in a small town south of Warwick.
Two days later, he put wood on the grass and set it alight, causing the fire to restart.
Defence lawyer David Jones told the court the teen planned to go back to school and playing sport.
"He is sorry for what he did, he should have learnt his lesson the first time but simply didn't see the consequences,” Mr Jones said.
Judge Jarro told the teen he was disappointed, because the boy was on probation when he lit the fires.
"You were given a chance on probation but you didn't use that chance wisely, did you?” he said.
"Once fires start, they could spread, they could spread to dwellings and houses. People could be in those houses and people may be struck or stranded and not be able to get out.”
Judge Jarro said although the boy had a bad history, it didn't mean he couldn't turn his life around.
"I hope for your sake that you take on the comments that I make,” Judge Jarro said.
The boy was ordered to serve probation for a year. No convictions were recorded.