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Teens appeal conviction for 'group assault' filmed on mobile phone

Teens appeal conviction for 'group assault' filmed on mobile phone

Thursday 11 May 2023

Teens appeal conviction for 'group assault' filmed on mobile phone

Thursday 11 May 2023

An appeal hearing has taken place in the case of three teenagers who were convicted of assaulting a fellow pupil and filming the attack on a mobile phone.

Having been found guilty by the Youth Court following a two-day trial earlier this year, the attackers – a girl aged 13 at the time of the incident in June 2022, a second girl who was 14, and a boy who was also 14 – attended the Royal Court on Wednesday.

The appeal was heard by the Bailiff, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, and three lay members of the Youth Court Panel, with judgement reserved and due to be published at a later date ­ the Bailiff said this verdict would be issued “as soon as we are able to do so”.

During the trial in February, the court heard from the prosecution that the attack on the 14-year-old was filmed on a mobile phone "for the enjoyment of others" and constituted a "group assault".

Advocate Alana Binnie, representing the youngest defendant, told yesterday’s appeal hearing that she considered some aspects of the trial had been “deeply unfair” and that defence attempts to question the credibility and character of the witness had been “completely shut down”.

“The picture was more detailed and complex,” she said. “The police had an unreasonable focus on [the youngest defendant] being the aggressor. There was no proper investigation and no witness statement from a friend of the victim seen on the video.”

A video was played in court showing the youngest defendant and the victim in a confrontation. This was followed by a second video showing the two girls grappling on the ground, with audible screaming and shouting.

Advocate Sarah Dale, representing the male defendant, said: “The inconsistencies in [the victim’s] evidence were ignored time and time again by the court in reaching their decision [to convict the trio].”

Advocate Ian Jones, representing the older female defendant, said there were clear differences in the verbal judgement issued by the Youth Court at the time of the trial and a written judgement issued several weeks later. He described this situation as “extraordinary” and “the definition of incoherence.”

When they appeared in the Youth Court for sentencing for the grave and criminal assault convictions on 31 March, the three teenagers were given restraining orders and warned to stay out of trouble, with the two female attackers also being given probation orders.

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