Ballina teen cops ear bashing

By Patrizia Reimer

MAGISTRATE Kim Pogson has had some harsh words for a youth facing affray charges for his involvement in a Ballina bus stop attack.

Mr Pogson told the youth he should do something constructive with his life.

The 15-year-old Ballina boy appeared before Ballina Children's Court for his part in a morning attack on a boy on May 30 near the bus bay in Swift Street.

According to facts tendered to the court the youth, who cannot be named because of his age, did not provoke the attack, but became involved after the instigator egged on a group of which the youth was a part.

The facts stated that about 8.30am a young person, apparently affected by alcohol or drugs and in an agitated state, looked over at the victim and asked aggressively what he was looking at.

When the victim replied he wasn't looking at anything, the instigator yelled abuse at him calling him fat, stupid and other obscenities.

He then moved closer to him, despite an attempt by his girlfriend to step in front of him. The victim, fearing an attack, pushed out with both hands pushing the instigator away.

The instigator then yelled out, 'you hit my girlfriend', before calling out to five other youths standing nearby who all approached the victim, who later told police he did not touch the girl.

The youth facing court yesterday was amongst them and, according to the police facts, he punched the victim in the jaw with a closed fist several times, while others in the group pushed and shoved the victim as he tried to get away.

The instigator also punched the victim in the face. When the victim walked away towards the entrance of the Ballina High School, the youth punched him in the back of his head.

The victim suffered bruising and severe soreness to his jaw and head as a result.

Police arrested the youth at his home two hours after the incident and charged him with affray and assault. In court yesterday he pleaded guilty to affray. The prosecution withdrew the assault charge.

In his defence his Legal Aid solicitor said the accused had expressed remorse, had been expelled from school and had been grounded for a month.

"He's here because he was stupid enough to get involved with something that didn't concern him at all," the solicitor said, adding that he hoped it was just a case of 'teenage testosterone'.

Magistrate Pogson questioned the youth before handing down his judgment.

"What on earth did this have to do with you?" he asked. "Um, nothing," replied the youth.

"Why would you follow a goose like that?" asked the magistrate.

"I dunno," replied the youth.

Magistrate Pogson dismissed the charge and said he would record no conviction, but placed the youth on a one-year good behaviour bond.

"You do what your mother tells you to do, go to school and keep out of trouble," Mr Pogson said in closing.

"Do something constructive. I don't want to see you again."

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