Belfast Telegraph

Belfast schoolboy kicked in head by another pupil wins court battle over criminal charge

By Alan Erwin

A Northern Ireland schoolboy allegedly kicked about the head by another youth has won a High Court battle over a decision to reduce the criminal charge.

Senior judges in Belfast quashed the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) move amid claims it breached victim notification requirements, his lawyer confirmed.

The case is now expected to be referred back to the Youth Court for a fresh determination on the alleged offence.

The boy was aged 14 when he was allegedly attacked at a location in the city in 2016.

The incident had been filmed and footage then posted online, according to his legal team.

A youth now aged 16 was arrested and charged with attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.

But on the day he was due to go on trial the PPS reduced the count against him to common assault.

He pleaded guilty to that offence and was due to be sentenced when the legal challenge was launched.

Lawyers representing the assault victim and his family claimed they were not consulted before the lesser charge was imposed.

They contended that the decision breached their human rights and the Department of Justice's Victim Charter.

Neither teenager can be identified because of their ages.

Judicial review proceedings were ended today with the outcome confirmed by the two-judge panel.

Following the hearing the victim's solicitor, Brian Archer, said: "We have now obtained, on behalf of our client, a quashing of the decision by the PPS to reduce the charge against the defendant.

"The matter is now to be referred back to the Youth Court for a determination on the criminal case."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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