A BUNCH of teenagers ran off from a taxi without paying the Gladstone driver his $64.80 fare because they panicked.
Defence lawyer Bernadette Le Grand told a Gladstone magistrate it was unfortunate teenage brains were still growing and the four youths, aged 16 and 17, fled when their flight responses kicked in.
Ms Le Grand, for Beau Arnold, 17, said he panicked after three teens, who had fare money, fled the taxi at 12.30am after catching it from Tannum Sands on November 7.
Arnold pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to fare evasion.
Prosecutor Sam Pyke said the driver stopped when a teen said he was going to vomit and they all ran off down Off St.
Ms Le Grand said Arnold was very sorry for what he did and had phoned the driver, offering to pay with money borrowed from his parents.
She said the other three teens received cautions.
"It's been a nerve-racking experience. He's learnt a big lesson," Ms Le Grand said.
"A moment of youthful stupidity."
Ms Le Grand unsuccessfully sought a non-publication media order on the matter but was refused by magistrate Mark Morrow as there was no legal ground.
The court was told police had earlier spoken to the teens when walking and gave them a lift to the Tannum taxi rank to catch a taxi home.
Mr Morrow said there would be parity as the other offenders were not fined. Arnold was put on $470 own recognisance for six months and must pay the fare.