A 15-year-old girl accused of slashing the carotid artery of another teenager has yesterday had her bail varied to allow her to use social media.
Lisburn Youth Court heard that the defendant, who cannot be identified due to her age, has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD, with a senior mental health practitioner opining that her emotional wellbeing could deteriorate if she remains socially isolated from her peers during the lockdown.
The girl is accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing a weapon, namely a knife, at Dean's Walk in Lurgan on April 19 last year. Previous courts have heard how the then aged 15-year-old victim was rushed to RVH having suffered life-threatening injuries when the artery was severed.
Yesterday a prosecuting lawyer said she was objecting to the bail variation given the fact the incident was allegedly founded on a feud between the girls that began on social media.
She also revealed there had been an allegation the defendant had used social media to send threatening messages to the injured party and her friends, adding that while a judge had deemed those breaches not found, he had imposed a blanket ban on her using social media.
Defence counsel Conor Lunney submitted that while "it's a sensitive case" with his client's recent diagnosis, being allowed to use social media to keep in touch with friends "would assist with her anxiety".
Describing the allegations as "extremely serious", District Judge Nigel Broderick said given the report from the senior mental health practitioner, "on balance I'm prepared to vary the bail, but put in place certain measures that will hopefully protect the complainant".
Although he eased the social media restrictions, the judge barred the girl from contacting her alleged victim and from making any reference to her.