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Violent offender shifted to youth prison

AAP logoAAP 23/11/2016 Genevieve Gannon

A judge has ordered a violent 18-year-old be moved from an adult prison into a youth detention centre to shield him from the influence of a multiple murderer.

Mursal Biel was befriended by the high-profile criminal in Port Phillip Prison following the 18-year-old's arrest in April for a "rampage" of assault, armed robbery and theft.

The Sudanese-born youth looked up to and sought advice from the prisoner, who is serving a long sentence for multiple murder convictions.

Ahead of his sentencing, Biel's defence lawyer asked that any custodial sentence be served in a youth detention centre "in order to remove him from the environment he's currently in".

"We have an example of a highly undesirable influence that he's been exposed to," barrister Caitlin Blakeney said on Wednesday.

"It's certainly something Corrections (Victoria) is worried about."

A report found Biel was not suitable for a Youth Justice order because of multiple breaches of previous orders.

However, Victorian County Court Judge Felicity Hampel said there was "a greater risk that he would be a more hardened offender" if he stayed in an adult prison.

The unruly youth had shown some reflection while "drying out" in custody, Judge Hampel said.

In the 14 months leading up to his offending he was a young man "clearly out of control" as the result of a combination of immaturity, poor impulse control, peer pressure and substance abuse, including ice, she said.

Since his arrest "the pernicious effects of ice seems to have dissipated".

He had pleaded guilty to nine charges arising from the April 10 crime spree when, in the space of an hour and a half, he and a carload of co-offenders robbed, threatened and assaulted people.

The court heard Biel has an IQ of 70.

In sentencing him, Judge Hampel said there was no evidence Biel was a member of the Apex Gang.

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