Belfast Telegraph

Teen (14) who tried to rape boy of nine warned as he gets probation

By Paul Higgins

A teenage schoolboy who tried to rape a nine-year-old boy walked free from court yesterday with a three-year probation order.

At Craigavon Crown Court Judge Patrick Lynch QC warned the 14-year-old that if he failed to comply or breached any aspect of either his probation or a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, he could end up in custody.

Addressing the schoolboy directly, the judge told him: "These are not advisory. I'm not saying simply that I want you to do this - these are orders and if you don't abide by these orders, you will be brought back to this court, and if that happens it could have serious consequences, which include custody."

Highlighting that when it comes to particularly young offenders, the "courts should always look at rehabilitation where possible", the judge told the schoolboy his actions have had a "dreadful effect" on both his victim and the boy's father.

Advising him not to "breach the trust of the court", Judge Lynch told the boy: "I hope that, on reflection, you look at the terrible effect your actions have had on them."

Last month the 14-year-old, who cannot be identified because of his age, pleaded guilty to a single charge of attempting to rape a child under 13 on a date unknown between May 31 and December 31, 2016.

The court heard that having been playing games on an Xbox the defendant, who was 12 at the time of the attack, called the younger boy into the bathroom where he "grabbed him by the neck and pushed him into a closet".

Rehearsing the prosecution case during his sentencing remarks yesterday, Judge Lynch revealed that inside the closet, the defendant "tried to pull down" his victim's trousers, touched his private parts, tried to "take a photograph" of the boy's private parts and tried to rape him.

The attack ended, said the judge, when the defendant's mother came upstairs and the incident "eventually" came to light when the boy told his parents what had happened.

Arrested and interviewed, he refused to answer police questions.

The victim, said the judge, is now "afraid to go out" and cannot attend his first choice of school because his attacker already goes there.

He said while the defendant's age was a "major factor" in his approach to the case, there was also the "natural revulsion" of the court coupled with the victim's parents' "natural sense of grievance that their son should be subjected to this type of appalling behaviour".

As well as the three-year probation order, Judge Lynch also imposed a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order which, amongst the conditions, prohibits the teenager from having a mobile phone or internet-capable device without approval, joining a club or taking up any hobby without approval, and from contacting his victim.

In addition, he must remain on the police sex offenders register for 30 months.

Belfast Telegraph

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