Armed and drunk teen robber met mates in rehab, Bimberi
Four teenagers who held up a service station armed with rifles and a meat cleaver met in Bimberi and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation service, a court has heard.
And one of the teens, the oldest at 17, was at the time of the heist the very first participant in the territory's fledging diversion youth drug court program.
Two of his co-offenders were aged just 13 - the other was 16 - and none can be named for legal reasons.
All four young robbers are being sentenced in the ACT Supreme Court for the aggravated robbery of the Caltex Service Station in Weston last November.
They have all pleaded guilty, but the sentencing exercise is complicated by drug and alcohol issues and the fact several of the defendants are being sentenced for other crimes.
In late November last year the group threatened an attendant and forced the staff member to hand over the till - containing just $435.35 - and 12 packets of cigarettes.
Police say the group was then spotted leaving in a silver Toyota Hilux, which was later found dumped in Kambah.
The traumatised victim has since quit his job and remains frightened of people with their faces covered, according to a victim impact statement read in court. The 17-year-old, who jumped on the counter and pointed an unloaded firearm at the attendant during the robbery, told the court he was ''blind drunk'' at the time.
Under questioning from his barrister, Ray Livingston, the teen said he was using ecstasy and drinking heavily in the days leading up to the robbery.
The boy, whose partner has since given birth to their first child, was released from Bimberi on bail over unrelated charges about two weeks before the crime.
Prosecutor Amanda Jubb said the teen's background of substance abuse had initially made him seem ''a perfect candidate'' for the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court.
The 17-year-old was the court's first participant, but after committing the armed robbery he was kicked out of the program.
The boy told the court he first met two of his co-offenders in a community-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, and the other in the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre.
In the days leading up to the robbery, the teenager was staying with his mother, who he said was using drugs.
And he told the court he met up with his co-offenders about midday on the day of the robbery after fighting with his mother, and started drinking.
By the time he drove a stolen Toyota Hilux to the service station ''we were going all over the road, I think I said to the boys we'll probably kill ourselves tonight''.
The defendant told the court he had problems with substance abuse.
''I've always used drugs and alcohol as a form of escape from reality, and [I've] realised that every time I do use them I get in trouble or do something stupid,'' he said.
The hearing continues.