10th Dec, 2016

Teen cleared for robbery of Coventry youngsters who attempted to take his life after repeated bullying

Coventry Editorial 7th Mar, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A TEENAGER has been cleared of taking part in the robbery of a Coventry youngster who attempted to take his own life after being subjected to repeated bullying.

The 17-year-old defendant, who a judge has ordered cannot be named, had pleaded not guilty to robbing the 16-year-old victim in January last year.

He also denied possessing a bladed article, a lock knife with a three-inch blade, at the time of the robbery in St James Lane, Coventry.

And following extensive legal arguments on what was to have been the first day of his trial, prosecutor Graeme Simpson said he would offer no evidence on the two charges.

The court had heard from a doctor that, because of the effects of his subsequent suicide attempt, the victim of the robbery was unable to give evidence.

And for legal reasons, the prosecution was going to be unable to read the 16-year-old’s police statement as an alternative to him giving evidence in court.

There was also further evidence in a letter written by a witness that the defendant was not involved in the actual incident.

Mr Simpson conceded that the decision not to continue with the case over that incident on January 20 last year weakened the prosecution’s case over another incident ten days later.

In relation to that, the 17-year-old had pleaded not guilty to three further charges of robbery in which it was alleged he and others robbed three young men of property including phones, speakers, headphones, a Lacoste bag and a box of matches.

He also denied possessing another bladed article, a kitchen knife, in Penarth Grove, Binley, on the day of those robberies on January 30.

And Mr Simpson said he would also offer no evidence against the 17-year-old on those matters – so Judge Andrew Lockhart QC entered not guilty verdicts on all of the charges.

But, at Mr Simpson’s request, he made the 17-year-old subject to a restraining order prohibiting him from ‘approaching, contacting or communicating by any means’ with the victim of the first robbery, either himself or through any third party.

Judge Lockhart told the 17-year-old: “You have been acquitted of these matters.

“But I have seen your Facebook page with an image under the heading ‘Team Work’ of a man being battered on the ground with a baseball bat.  That is highly inappropriate for anyone to have on their Facebook page.

“I am concerned about the conduct that has happened and the company you keep.  You are only 17.  It’s time to turn your life around.”