Judge hits out as he lets teen burglar walk free; HE ASKS WHY NO ROBBERY CHARGE AFTER BOY 'THREATENED MAN WITH KNIFE'.
Byline: ELWYN ROBERTS
A JUDGE had to let a cocaineaddicted teenager walk free from court after he went into a vulnerable man's home and stole from him after allegedly threatening him with a knife.
Judge Rhys Rowlands had questioned why the youth, who can't be named for legal reasons, had not been charged with robbery rather than the less serious burglary rap he faced.
He had been "harassing" the victim for several weeks, and the man, who had mental health problems, had taken to keeping a knife at hand to protect himself.
The youth came again to the house, looming at the window, before asking for money when the victim opened up. He was given PS8, but came back later asking for more, when he was given some loose change.
He complained that wasn't enough, climbed in and started looking for money. According to prosecutor Sion Ap Mihangel, he picked up the victim's knife from the kitchen floor.
The victim claimed he had brandished the knife but the youth denied it.
Two days later he smashed the window with a brick and stole the man's the TV.
Judge Rowlands told Mold Crown Court he had already raised the question of whether or not the 17-year-old had been "undercharged", but that he had been assured not.
He said he had no choice but to sentence the youth following the burgary guidelines.
He told the defendant, who is from Wrexham, he could have been facing custody, adding: "Had you been sentenced for the offence of robbery there is no question at all that you would have gone into a young offenders' institute."
He was ordered to pay PS200 compensation and a five-year restraining order bans him from going near his victim, who has had to move house since his ordeal in November. He must also observe a three-month curfew to remain indoors between 8pm and 6.30am.
The court heard that the youth, who admitted both burglaries, had since rid himself of cocaine and got a job.