Before they turn 22, three young misguided vigilantes who brutally attacked a man in Canberra, bound him, and left him for dead will be released from juvenile detention.
Peter Keeley perished after being persuaded to visit a remote location in Broulee on the NSW south coast in 2020 with the hope of having sex with an 18-year-old man.
Instead, a 17-year-old who had used a hookup app to pose as the young adult Before his two friends joined the ambush and emerged from the bushes, Grindr started belting him.
According to NSW Supreme Court Justice Michael Walton, “These were three youths who were friends and, aside from some illicit drug use, were law-abiding and of good character.”
“The offending was motivated by a perilous and misguided idea,” one boy claimed, “and everything went terribly wrong.”
On February 2, 2020, Mr. Keeley was assaulted and repeatedly struck in the face.
He resisted, breaking his arm in the process, before being tackled to the ground and having his ankles and wrists bound.
Then, one teen taped his mouth shut before the group dragged him to a power pole, set him upright, and then dispersed.
The judge remarked, “It was unquestionably a terrifying experience for the deceased.”
He was unable to move or call for help when he was left, which put him in a very precarious situation. He was abandoned in a far-off location.
He was discovered dead later that day.
His battered face was covered in dirt, and the teenagers’ DNA matched that of the tape covering Mr. Keeley’s limbs.
11 days after the fatal assault, the boys were taken into custody.
When police came, the ambush’s planner said, “I didn’t do it on purpose, it was an accident, I didn’t want it to happen.”
This Year 12 student had been corresponding with Mr. Keeley on Grindr on February 1 and discovered the man’s apparent significant interest in young people, particularly those under the age of 18.
He told his two pals about a plot to ambush Mr. Keeley and dispense vigilante retribution after setting up a meeting with the Canberran near Broulee.
When the three teens, who were all 17 at the time, went on trial this year, two of them were found not guilty of the murder charges, which led the prosecution to drop the murder accusation against the third.
Instead, each defendant admitted to keeping a person in custody with extraordinary aggravation.
The now-adults had thrived in juvenile incarceration, had high chances for rehabilitation, and were unlikely to commit reoffending, according to Justice Walton.
He claimed that each had expressed sincere regret and awareness of their offense.
He mandated that the organizer, who is now 20 years old, spend a minimum of three years and 10 months in jail.
The third offender, who has severe mental health concerns, will be available for parole starting on Tuesday, while the co-offender, now 19 years old, was incarcerated until January 2023.
Justice Walton ordered prison officials to allow the guys to serve their terms in juvenile custody after hearing medical experts’ worries that the young men would “slip between the cracks” if transferred to an adult jail.