Big Read: He sued an entire state for his illiteracy and won. Now he's back in court

By Olivia Lambert

Has Beau Abela learnt nothing? Photo / Nicole Garmston
Has Beau Abela learnt nothing? Photo / Nicole Garmston

He is the kid who single-handedly sued an entire state and got away with hundreds of thousands of dollars and a free car.

But when will Beau Abela start taking responsibility for his actions?

He blamed the Victorian Government because he couldn't read or write and his illiteracy saw him fall behind his classmates.

He ended up with a generous compensation to set him up for his future, but he is still unemployed and it seems he has learnt little from the experience.

The boy who sued Victoria has turned to a life of crime and it seems the state won't be able to save him this time.

HOW A KID SUED A STATE

In 2007 a chubby baby-faced kid peered over a book and declared war on Victoria.

He blamed the state for the fact he was illiterate and that marked the beginning of an eight-year long court battle with the government.

He was a 14-year-old kid who felt like he had not much of a life ahead of him.

He couldn't read a bus timetable or a menu and even just counting to 10 was a challenge.

Beau blamed the Victorian Education Department for taking away his future, as his primary school, Panton Hills in outer Melbourne, should not have let him progress to high school because he had an intellectual disability and struggled with his reading and writing.

Beau Abela found himself in an eight-year long court battle with the Victorian Government. Photo / News Limited
Beau Abela found himself in an eight-year long court battle with the Victorian Government. Photo / News Limited

At the time Beau announced his action against the government, he said he would never get an apprenticeship and his father, Peter Abela, said "the government failed my son" and "Beau was cheated of his education".

When Beau was in grade three, parent/teacher notes said he would sometimes lash out in the playground.

The notes stated he was "extremely reluctant" to talk in front of the class and he needed a great deal of encouragement and assistance.

During the eight-year court battle, Beau and Mr Abela failed to sue the state but they appealed to the Federal Court and eventually won.

Documents from a court sitting in 2013 state teachers tried to help Beau and Mr Abela grudgingly admitted they did, but said his son needed more.

Mr Abela couldn't help Beau himself because he also struggled with literacy and numeracy but he said it was the school's job to educate his son anyway.

Peter Abela said the government needed to do more to help his son Beau. Photo / News Limited
Peter Abela said the government needed to do more to help his son Beau. Photo / News Limited

Beau also had other problems beyond his reading and writing.

He was also disruptive and court documents from 2013 state when Beau went to Eltham High School, he had some behavioural issues.

Mr Abela told the school "it's your problem" and that he "didn't have time for this".

During his teenage years, Beau went to a number of different high schools and dropped out.

But when he tried to re-enrol in one at Collingwood he wasn't let in and he blamed the Education Department, claiming he was being discriminated against because of his intellectual disability.

Barrister David Hancock told the Federal Court that Beau "sits at home wondering what to do with his life".

Charming. Beau Abela outside court where he pleaded guilty to car theft. Photo / News Corp Australia
Charming. Beau Abela outside court where he pleaded guilty to car theft. Photo / News Corp Australia

The Age reported Mr Hancock said the department was in the wrong because it blamed Beau, his family and even his diet for his classroom behaviour.

Mr Hancock said the longer Beau was in school, the more aggressive and disengaged he became.

Last year the case finally came to a close when the Federal Court approved a secret settlement between Beau and the state.

He won $300,000 to further his education, along with a free car.

But it seems that education has not helped Beau get a job and he has instead turned to a life of crime.

'STOP MAKING EXCUSES'

Now covered in tattoos with a lip ring and a backwards cap, Beau is still blaming his choices on his illiteracy.

He fronted court yesterday and pleaded guilty to stealing a $2100 Nissan from a carpark in Flinders Lane.

The Herald Sun reports this was the second time he faced court on car theft charges.

Beau complained about still being unemployment and said it was due to his reading and writing skills but Magistrate Tim Burke had no sympathy.

"Don't use that as an excuse," he said.

"Use it as motivation to prove everyone wrong."

The Herald Sun reports Beau stole the car after his own vehicle was impounded.

The 22-year-old was let off with a good behaviour bond without conviction.

Outside court, Beau hid behind a pair of green-rimmed sunglasses and proceeded to stick his middle finger up at cameras.

He did not respond to news.com.au's attempts to contact him.

- news.com.au

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