Beau Abela got a payout after suing Victoria for not teaching him to read and write — but still turned to crime

Beau Abela got a payout after suing Victoria for not teaching him to read and write — but still turned to crime, by Shannon Dery.

HE’S the boy who sued Victoria and won, because he left school unable to read or write. But despite a secret private payout and a free car Beau Abela has turned to a life of crime, complaining he can’t get work.

Abela sued the Education Department for $300,000 in 2007 for failing to teach him properly. He said he couldn’t get an apprenticeship because he lacked basic life skills such as using a bus timetable, reading a menu or counting money.

After eight years of litigation Abela last year reached a near million dollar private settlement with the government.

Interesting way to make a million dollars. At the average adult full-time wage of $37 per hour, a million dollars would take about 27,000 hours to earn — after tax and only working the usual 2,000 hours per year, a bit over 20 years. A big break indeed for young Beau. However:

He has pleaded guilty to pinching a $2100 Nissan from a Flinders Lane car park after his own car had been impounded. It was the second time he had faced court on car theft charges.

The Age had more in 2012:

[He said] he was silenced with medication and teachers blamed his inability to learn on eating doughnuts. …

Mr Hancock said instead of giving Beau extra academic help, the system helped him take medication for attention deficit disorder, which was of questionable diagnosis. ”This was relatively cheap … and did not require extra effort. All Beau received was meetings and assessments which gave a semblance of activity.”

Justin Bourke, SC, representing the department, … sai, Beau’s curriculum had been regularly modified and adjusted to meet his needs. He said Beau had performed as could be expected from someone of his IQ, which was 62, and had not received enough help doing homework. He had been destabilised by his mother leaving when he was young and threatening to harm him and his sister, for which she was served with a restraining order.

”We are not blaming the father, we are not blaming the family, but the child had come from a broken home and was clearly emotionally disturbed … the teachers did a fantastic job.”