AT JUST 18, Norman Frank Clarke has the rap sheet of a career criminal and on Monday, the young thug known as "Buddha" was warned a penchant for random acts of gratuitous violence would lead to a lifetime behind bars.
Jailed for an attack on taxi driver Peter Olson, who had his teeth knocked out while simply standing on a footpath where an enraged Clarke had emerged from an Esplanade club, the son of two of the region's most well-known offenders was told the community needed to be protected from someone who from the youngest age had shown a tendency to be "impulsively violent".
Clarke was already serving probation for head butting a dog squad officer when he knocked Const Walker to the ground of a Pialba footpath, leaving him with a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and permanent health issues.
Early last year, he was jailed for two years over the attack of a teenager who suffered a broken jaw.
He was on parole for that offence when he "belted (Mr Olson) in the mouth" in an unprovoked attack.
Describing Clarke's actions as "appalling and tragic" and a "microcosm" of a bigger social issue regarding the relationship between young people and alcohol in the Aboriginal community, Judge David Reid said it was rare to see someone so young show "little to no prospect of rehabilitation".
He said it was "extraordinary" that someone aged 18 could have three grievous bodily harm convictions and that the fact that his friends showed the same disregard to the community, only compounded the problem.
The court heard that after the assault, one girl pulled up her car and said "come on Buddha it's time to go" without checking on Mr Olson's wellbeing.
Imposing a sentence of two-and-a-half years, Judge Reid told Clarke to use his time in jail to learn new skills and warned that without long-term employment in the future, he was "looking down the barrel of life in prison".