29 December 2022

Teen allegedly linked to car thefts and stealing pair of French bulldogs is refused bail

| Albert McKnight
law courts of the ACT

Benjamin Quirk-Buckley, 19, has been refused bail by the ACT Magistrates Court. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A teenager accused of stealing two French bulldogs and recording himself being part of numerous car thefts has been refused bail.

Benjamin Quirk-Buckley, 19, has pleaded not guilty to 24 charges over incidents reported to have taken place across Canberra.

Among the charges, he and a co-defendant are accused of stealing two bulldogs, named Prince and Priscilla, from a home in Garran and an Audi RS4 early in the morning of 19 July 2022.

Quirk-Buckley allegedly recorded himself patting one of the dogs and saying: “We are good guys, but sometimes we might like to steal some puppies.”

Prince and Priscilla were returned to their owners after the three co-defendants were arrested later that month.

In other alleged incidents, Quirk-Buckley used his phone to record videos of himself and his co-defendants in several stolen cars.

It is alleged Quirk-Buckley recorded clips inside a Toyota Hilux ute he had stolen off a building site in Narrabundah on 30 June 2022 while it was driven by a co-defendant at speeds up to 180 kph.

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Early on 3 July 2022, Quirk-Buckley allegedly recorded videos of himself and a co-defendant in a Ford Focus stolen from Dunlop.

“What drugs are we on Jackie?” he allegedly said to his co-defendant in one video.

“High on air, high on life,” the co-defendant allegedly replied before driving through a red light.

That afternoon Quirk-Buckley allegedly texted his co-defendant to say he had just woken up, wanted a “mad feed” and said: “Let’s go smash some cars for pay wave.”

“There’s heaps off bush walking vehicles sitting around atm [sic].”

That night he allegedly recordrecord ed another video inside a car while someone said: “Hocus Pocus get out the Focus.”

On 4 July, Quirk-Buckley is alleged to have recorded himself laughing and vaping inside an Audi A5 stolen from Monash.

When the owner of the Audi woke up, his $6000 Tag Heuer watch and $1530 in cash had also been stolen from his kitchen.

On 5 July, Quirk-Buckley allegedly recorded the Ford Focus as it burnt on the side of a dirt road in Williamsdale.

“There’s a nice profile picture to get me and Jack,” a co-defendant is alleged to have said while they watched the flames.

Early the same morning, Quirk-Buckley allegedly recorded videos on his phone while police chased the Audi A5 through Canberra before it evaded officers by mounting a median strip on Cotter Road.

Quirk-Buckley also allegedly recorded his co-defendant trying to drive over ducks on a nature strip on 6 July.

The next day, he was having an argument with his girlfriend over text when he told her: “I’m bout to leave jakes by myself [sic] to try to get a car.” She asked why, and he allegedly replied: “Because it’s fun and want a car.”

He is also allegedly involved in an incident in Lyneham on 12 July when a resident was woken by someone trying to break into his home. The resident ran outside and a person allegedly hit him twice with a baseball bat.

It is alleged the intruders stole his Audi RS5 and Quirk-Buckley recorded more videos inside this car.

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Quirk-Buckley has pleaded not guilty to six counts of burglary-related charges, single counts of attempted robbery and arson, five theft-related charges, four counts of taking a motor vehicle without consent by joint commission and six counts of ride/drive a vehicle without consent.

When asking the ACT Magistrates Court for bail on Tuesday (20 December), Legal Aid lawyer Mr Rutzou highlighted the delay in the case, saying his client would not face a trial until July 2023.

He said all three co-defendants were in custody.

Magistrate James Lawton said it appeared the likelihood of committing further offences was high and refused bail. The matter was adjourned to 17 January 2023.

The co-defendants have not been named.

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