THREE teenagers who carried out and filmed a group attack on a fellow pupil have been given restraining orders and warned to stay out of trouble.
Two of the attackers – a girl aged 13 at the time of the incident last June, and a second girl who was 14 – were also given probation orders as they returned to the Youth Court for sentencing yesterday alongside a boy who was also 14 at the time.
They were all convicted of grave and criminal assault following a two-day trial in February.
During the trial, the court heard that the attack on the 14-year-old was filmed on a mobile phone ‘for the enjoyment of others’.
Legal adviser Paul Lee described the incident as a ‘group assault’, adding: ‘There were blows to the face. She [the victim] was assaulted while she was on the floor and the violence and humiliation was being recorded for the enjoyment of others.’
Mr Lee said the victim was concerned about the possibility of seeing the three defendants in future, and he asked that a restraining order be imposed until she turned 18.
The court also heard about a previous matter involving the youngest defendant, which had taken place earlier in 2022, when a fellow pupil was slapped, knocked to the floor twice and kicked.
Advocate Alana Binnie, representing the youngest defendant, said her client accepted full responsibility for the earlier attack, was shocked by her behaviour and had written a letter expressing remorse.
The court heard that the girl, who was 13 at the time of both incidents, had not been in any trouble over the past nine months.
Advocate Binnie said she was a ‘very bright young lady’ and had ‘positive plans for the future, including going to university’.
Advocate Ian Jones, representing the older female defendant, said his client – who had since turned 15 – was willing to do voluntary work as part of the restorative justice programme.
Advocate Sarah Dale, representing the male defendant – who is also now 15 – said he had suffered from health and anxiety problems as a result of the ‘stressful’ legal proceedings.
Announcing that the Youth Court panel was imposing a six-month probation order on the youngest defendant, Magistrate Bridget Shaw said: ‘You have to recognise that for a few months last year your behaviour left two girls in A&E – and you must understand how serious blows to the head might be.
‘People can die as a result, even if there was no intent. We want you to learn to resolve problems without becoming violent, and to direct your energy and intelligence into making a better future for yourself.’
Speaking to the older girl, who was sentenced to a three-month probation order, Mrs Shaw said that pre-sentence reports indicated the youngster could be easily led.
‘You need more maturity and understanding of the world around you,’ she said.
Imposing a six-month binding-over order on the male defendant, Mrs Shaw said: ‘This may have been out of character, but you must be responsible for your own behaviour. You don’t need to join in.’
Mrs Shaw said the panel considered that a restraining order was appropriate, and that the trio should not make direct or indirect contact with the victim, should not approach, follow her or enter her home and should take ‘immediate action’ to avoid a breach if they encountered her.
Any contact in an educational establishment should be ‘brief and minimal’, she added.
The court heard that the restraining order would be in place until the point at which the four people involved reached the end of their periods of compulsory education.
An order was made for costs of £1,200, split between the parents of the three defendants, with Mrs Shaw saying that payments should be suspended pending the outcome of an appeal against the convictions, which is due to be heard later.
Jonathan Bugbird and Jean Cross were sitting on the panel.