FILE PHOTO: A picture of schoolboys fighting illustrates some of the circumstances of schoolyard violence, but is not a representation of events at St Patrick's College.
FILE PHOTO: A picture of schoolboys fighting illustrates some of the circumstances of schoolyard violence, but is not a representation of events at St Patrick's College. iStock

Bullying leads to school yard assaults and court case

TWO former Gympie high school students have been placed on probation for assault, after Gympie Magistrates Court was told their actions were provoked by sustained school yard bullying.

The two students cannot be named because both were 17 at the time, an age which now appears to mean they are entitled to anonymity as children, despite being adults legally at the time of the offences.

Both young men pleaded guilty to charges of assault and assault with bodily harm in the court this week.

According to agreed facts submitted by both defence and prosecution, the two St Patrick's College students suffered repeated verbal abuse and bullying before committing the offences.

The agreed facts document shows that on July 24, 2017, one of them reacted by assaulting the complainant, putting him in a headlock and getting the other, a boy of large build, to help try to place him in a rubbish bin.

The abuse-assault cycle was repeated at lunch time the same day, with the complainant dropped on the ground and taken to hospital with a painfully injured elbow.

The second of the two accused was also involved in a similar incident at Alexandra Headland on September 7, 2017, when students were engaged in a football game on the beach.

School staff provided references for both young men.

Barrister Simone Bain told the court her client lost his temper after "a long period of name calling, bullying and teasing," which did not seem to have been dealt with adequately by the school.

Her submissions were supported by solicitor Chris Anderson, representing the other man.

Ms Bain said her client was "a gentle giant," a school leader and both a house captain and rugby league and rugby union captain. He had lost these positions and was suspended after the incidents.

He had suffered "very personal" insults including sexual innuendos about his mother and his size and weight. The taunts were backed by comments about the complainant's family's "wealth and influence," the barrister said.

They each pleaded guilty to the charges and were placed on probation with no convictions recorded, one for nine months and the other for 12 months.

Gympie Times


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