7 July 2022

Driver to fatal Weston Creek skatepark brawl suffered from beatings, arson

| Albert McKnight
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The scene of the police investigation at the skatepark at Weston

Police investigating the stabbings at the Weston Creek skatepark in September 2020. Photo: Michael Weaver.

One of the teenagers who went to the fatal brawl at the Weston Creek skatepark where an 18-year-old man was killed suffered from extra-curial punishment after the fight, including being bashed and dealing with actual and attempted arson attacks.

The sentences for two teenagers who went to the brawl can now be revealed after the expiration of a non-publication order prohibiting their publication.

ACT Children’s Court Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker gave the pseudonym of Abby to one of them. She said there was no doubt she received extensive extra-curial punishment since the skatepark incident on 27 September 2020.

Abby faced physical violence more than once, including receiving a cut above her eye, as well as attempted and actual arson attacks on cars at her home that resulted in $15,000 damage.

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“From those who have formed a view in the community, whoever they may be, about her role in this incident, they are determined to exhibit vigilantism and to take into their own hands what they perceive to be an appropriate way of dealing with these incidents,” Chief Magistrate Walker said.

“Further violence does not assist the community in any way at all and it is also violence which has been perpetrated in a degree of ignorance about the incident.”

The 18-year-old man had been stabbed five times during the brawl and died from rapid blood loss at the scene.

A 15-year-old boy was accused of murdering him, but a jury acquitted the now-17-year-old last month after a five-week trial.

However, he still needs to be sentenced for stabbing a 16-year-old in the back during the brawl.

Also, three teenagers and three adults were sentenced over their roles in the fight last September.

Chief Magistrate Walker said on the night of the fight, two groups of teenagers decided to meet at the skatepark for a fist fight after a couple of them started arguing over the social media application Snapchat.

Abby was the girlfriend of one of these teens. She collected him and a 17-year-old, who has been given the pseudonym Matthew, along with the 15-year-old murder accused and drove them all to the skatepark.

They also contacted the adults and asked them to come along, “just in case things went south”.

After they arrived and the brawl kicked off, Abby was out of her car for about 30 seconds before getting back inside because she suffered a panic attack.

Her boyfriend and Matthew attacked one boy, the 16-year-old who was later stabbed, while he was still sitting in his car and punched him numerous times.

Once the fight was over, Matthew, the boyfriend and the 15-year-old went back to Abby’s car and she drove them away.

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In March 2022, Abby pleaded guilty to affray and received a non-conviction order after the chief magistrate took into account her extra-curial punishment. However, she had to complete a three-month good behaviour order.

Matthew also pleaded guilty to affray. Chief Magistrate Walker said he had a law-abiding family that went to great lengths to relocate and support him.

“This action also largely shielded him from the retributive actions experienced by a number of co-accused, except to the extent that he was required to delete his social media profile,” she said.

While Matthew’s lawyer asked for a non-conviction order due to the possible impact on his client’s hopes of a military career, the chief magistrate refused. She convicted him and imposed a six-month good behaviour order.

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