On 3 August 2015, a 16-year-old girl – whose identity is protected – received a referral order in respect of two offences of common assault and robbery.
The facts are a little unclear, however it appears that two groups of youths had clashed one evening. Later on, the groups came together again at which point the 16-year-old defendant accused one of the girls of giving her a “dirty look”. What followed was captured on camera (see below). This included hitting one of her victims in the face with a handbag and grabbing the other by the neck, pushing her to the ground. She then went through the victim’s bags and stole cash and a mobile phone belonging to of one of the victims.
She was dealt with at Birmingham Youth Court with the judge describing her actions as “horrendous…bullying”.
This girl admitted the offences but claimed she had drunk nearly a litre of vodka and could not remember the incident. The judge rejected that assertion, commenting “I’ve seen the video and it’s clear you knew exactly what you were doing and why you were doing it”.
The girl said she was disgusted with herself and usually would “stand up to the bullies”.
The judge imposed a 10 month referral order. This is a non-custodial youth sentence involving a referral to a youth offending panel. A referral order lasts between 3 and 12 months. The girl will have to agree to a youth offending contract involving attendance at meetings and compliance with requirements.
The judge also made a parenting order – these are mandatory where the child is under 16 but in this case, there was a discretion as the defendant was aged 16 at conviction. The parenting order requires the parent/guardian to attend meetings for the purpose of securing compliance with the order.
If at any point the girl is not complying, or is convicted of another offence, the panel will refer her back to court to be dealt with. This could involve an extension of the youth offending contract or re-sentencing, which could result in a custodial sentence.
A compensation order was also made in respect of both victims, £100 for one, £300 (covering the cost of the mobile phone) for the other. This was ordered to be paid by the defendant’s parent; where the offender is aged 16, there is a discretion to make the order (under 16, the order is mandatory).