A teenager who kicked a female police officer in the face at a mass beach party in north Down during the summer lockdown has had the charges against him withdrawn.
The 17-year-old, who was one of four youths arrested on Bangor’s Ballyholme Beach at the end of May, is instead to meet with his victim or a police representative.
More than 400 youths had gathered on the beach to drink alcohol and party in breach of social distancing guidelines and sections of the crowd attacked cops who attempted to disperse them.
During the disorder a female PSNI officer was booted in the face by a 17-year-old when she told him he shouldn’t be drinking on the beach.
The young man had pleaded guilty to a number of offences including assaulting a police officer but had the charges against him withdrawn at Newtownards Youth Court on Tuesday after lawyers agreed to deal with the matter using a Diversionary Youth Conference (DYC). DYCs are organised by the Youth Justice Agency and usually involve a meeting with the young person, family members and, in most cases, the victim or their representative.
The meetings usually result in an apology, compensation, service for the community or restrictions on conduct or whereabouts.
Peter Coiley, of Killen Warke Solicitors, asked the court to vacate his client’s earlier guilty pleas after agreeing a DYC with prosecutors and the YJA.
Following the beach party operation, the female officer who was kicked described the incident as “very frightening”, adding: “When we arrived on the beach, the beach was full. There must have been in excess of 400 or 500 young people all sitting in various groups throughout the beach.
“One group in particular just refused to engage with us and all seemed heavily intoxicated. I spoke to one young man and explained to him that he shouldn’t be drinking on the beach and as I lent down to speak to him he just put his foot up and kicked me directly in the face.
“I was struck between my nose and my upper lip. I instantly fell back, it was quite frightening, it was frightening to see how quickly the crowd had turned with the influence of alcohol.”