Will Cordwell from the Ascot Hotel.
Will Cordwell from the Ascot Hotel. Allan Reinikka

Publican keeps eye on case

WILL Cordwell says he’ll keep a watchful eye on how events unfold today when six youths charged with breaking into his North Rockhampton hotel late last month face court.

While Mr Cordwell believes he is not allowed into the Children’s Court he said if time allowed he would wait outside the courtroom so he could find out what happened as quickly as possible.

The popular publican has shelved his plans for a $30 million expansion at the hotel in Musgrave St until unruly young offenders are brought back into line across the city.

His hotel has been repeatedly targeted in recent weeks and he said it was not the only business to suffer.

It is alleged six youths – five boys and a girl aged between 13 and 16 – broke into the Ascot Hotel by smashing windows and stole a few bottles of rum and small amount of cash on Sunday, May 29.

Mr Cordwell said the business community and general public wanted magistrates to be tough with those found guilty.

He has aired his frustrations to community leaders.

Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten said a tiny minority of offenders were causing a maximum amount of pain.

“I came into this job taking about juvenile crime and I will go out of it still talking about it,” Mr Schwarten said.

“These people are not frightened to go to jail.

“They have no respect for authority, they take no notice of parents, they spit on police, they see themselves as a law unto themselves.”

He said Mr Cordwell was a well-respected member of the community.

“I’m open to suggestions if Will has some ideas of how to fix this,” Mr Schwarten said.

However, he cautioned against those who claimed they had the solution.

“I’ve not got any sense we have the solution and I’m not sure there is one,” Mr Schwarten said.

He said he never criticised the judiciary as this was “a slippery path” to go down.

Queensland had some of the toughest laws to deal with juveniles in the western world, Mr Schwarten said.



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