Perth Now, November 5, 2011
WA police commissioner Karl O’Callaghan wants a public debate on Aboriginal youth crime following the horrific bashing of an elderly man over the weekend.
‘The 73-year-old great-grandfather, known as Wally, was brutally beaten with a baseball bat in an unprovoked attack while looking for the owner of a lost dog in the eastern Perth suburb of Camillo on Sunday night.
The man described his main attacker as a young Aboriginal man who was with a group of six Aboriginal youths.
He is recovering in hospital with two broken ribs, fractured vertebrae, a fracture to his forearm and cuts to his head.
The elderly man claimed he would have been killed if not for the intervention of a nearby resident.
WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan told 6PR radio today that Aboriginal youth crime needed to be addressed urgently.
“There are a lot of Aboriginal people and Aboriginal groups who really want to do something about this Aboriginal youth crime problem that we’ve got,” the police commissioner said.
“These types of assaults–and we’ve seen assaults on people in wheelchairs–these things transcend all the taboos that we’ve got in our society.
“The most vulnerable people–elderly and people who are disabled–are being attacked.
“We’ve got to do something about this–we’ve got to have a public debate.” Mr O’Callaghan said intervention was needed to prevent Aboriginal children from roaming the streets at night and getting into trouble.
“The issue for these kids is that we need to provide some intervention for them and we need to provide it quickly,” he said.
“If we don’t provide that, they’re out on the streets potentially doing more of these sorts of bashings.”
Mr O’Callaghan said many offences were committed by adults in the company of children and teenagers, who were easily influenced and went on to commit crimes themselves.
“We’ve got kids who are quite young, 14 or 15, who are committing horrific assaults and robberies,” he said.
Wally’s attacker is still at large and described as Aboriginal, 20-25, of slim build with dark eyes and about 175cm tall.