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How they argued for reduced sentences – mitigation arguments for the five teens

How they argued for reduced sentences – mitigation arguments for the five teens

Wednesday 11 May 2016

How they argued for reduced sentences – mitigation arguments for the five teens

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Each of the five defendants and their parents had the chance to address the court directly to add to the mitigation put forward by their lawyers yesterday.

Only one of the boys took up the opportunity, but each of the lawyers spoke for some time about the effect that the tragic events last July had wrought on the defendants, and how further punishment would have an even greater impact on them.

All five boys are appealing against their convictions for perverting the course of justice – the First Defendant, who has also been convicted of possessing illegal drugs and indecent images of children, is also appealing against those convictions.

Because of the boy’s ages, nothing can be published which would identify them.

The five were accompanied in court by their fathers.

Lawyers for all five told the court that their clients were from good, stable homes and that they had all been affected by what had happened. Some of the key quotes from the hearing were:


The lawyer in respect of the First Defendant, convicted of perverting the course of justice as well as charges relating to illegal drugs and indecent images of children…


“Morgan and others were involved in a drug culture and the school knew some of that,” he said, adding that the school should have stepped in earlier.

“The spiral should have been stopped at an earlier stage,” he said.

He noted that his client had been expelled from his school as a result of his conviction on the indecent images charges, derailing what had been “stellar” previous results.

“What he craves is what he used to have,” he said. “A school environment in which he excelled.”


The lawyer for the Second Defendant pointed out that her client was the youngest of the five to be charged, having been just 15 at the time of the offence…


“He is very much a typical young teen and has tried drugs,” she said. “He has decided they were not for him. The court and the Island would be very alarmed with the amount of young men of [the defendant’s] age who could not say the same thing.”

“He had no experience of overdose, he judged the situation completely wrong” she said, while he realised Morgan was ill, he did not think he would die.

She stressed the defendant has been through “ten months of hell”, four of which were spent under charges of suspicion of murder, during which time he did “not have the benefit of anonymity” and was subjected to “vile social media attacks made by people ignorant of the case”.


The lawyer for the Third Defendant accepted that his client had not told the truth when challenged by the police, paramedics and members of the public, but said his role was not as great as some of the others…


He said that while the boy had been “less than straightforward about moving Morgan”, he had been acting in the spur of the moment and sees in hindsight it was not what he should have done.

The lawyer urged the court to consider carefully “where on the hierarchy of responsibility to place each defendant,” and that the level of this boy’s actions of was “significantly less” than the others.


The Fourth Defendant was the only one to personally give a statement to the court, in which he expressed regret about what had happened, but maintained that he had not committed an offence…


“I made a wrong decision in moving Morgan and I was not serving his best interests but I don’t think that what I did was a criminal offence,” he said.

“Obviously if I was in the same position again, I would make a different decision in phoning myself… and not following what [the First Defendant] wanted to do.”

His lawyer stressed that the boy did not know Morgan well and has no substance abuse issues. He added that his client had only been at the party to say goodbye to some of his friends and the family has since left Jersey.

“He didn’t speak to Police at the scene and cannot be accused of lying,” he said.

The boy’s father also spoke – disputing the court’s finding that his son had been less than completely open and honest about what had happened.

“Categorically, everything said to the Police on that evening was the truth,” said the father.

“He has shown real remorse and not a day went by that he has not thought about that evening.”

He said that his son saw the First Defendant as having “some level of perceived authority in that situation”, felt peer pressure and had been “led astray.”


The Fifth Defendant was emotional during the hearing and was comforted by his father as his lawyer spoke in his mitigation…


The lawyer said his client’s role was the “least significant of the five defendants” and that he had cooperated with Police, offering important information which led to the Police issuing a “collective sigh of relief” when they realised what they were dealing with was not a murder investigation but the much more common situation “of someone dying subsequently as a result of taking drugs themselves”.

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