8 April 2022

Magistrate warned teen who allegedly filmed brutal assault he'd 'have a difficult time in custody'

| Albert McKnight
Man leaving court

Jack Summerrell-Jenkins, 18, leaves court on Tuesday after being granted bail. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A teen accused of laughing and filming as a man was allegedly bashed and indecently assaulted has been given a stark warning by a magistrate, including if he ended up in Canberra’s jail, he would be “a very small fish in a very big ocean full of sharks”.

Magistrate Louise Taylor told 18-year-old Jack Summerrell-Jenkins, whose size and “boyish features” had been pointed out by his lawyer Paul Edmonds, that he had to choose what sort of life he wanted to live.

“I absolutely guarantee you that your size will ensure you have a very difficult time in custody,” she said to the teen.

“You might think you’re a hard young man, walking around the streets of Canberra, but I imagine you wouldn’t like being in the position [the complainant] was in.”

Court documents allege Mr Summerrell-Jenkins drove the complainant to a home in Dunlop in March 2022 where they met up with five others, including three of Mr Summerrell-Jenkins’ co-defendants. The first co-defendant allegedly punched the complainant in the face and shoved him around while others, including Mr Summerrell-Jenkins, laughed.

Outside, the first co-defendant allegedly continued to assault the complainant, including kicking him in the face, while Mr Summerrell-Jenkins allegedly filmed it on his mobile phone.

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One alleged kick to the head knocked him unconscious and the first co-defendant allegedly punched him in the face while he was blacked out.

When the complainant was on his hands and knees, the first co-defendant allegedly squatted behind him and simulated sexually assaulting him.

“Males can be heard laughing while this occurred. This act is done with the intention to degrade [the complainant],” according to police.

While the group allegedly left the complainant alone for a short time, when they returned, the first co-defendant made him take off his clothes before he ran away, naked, finding refuge at a neighbouring property.

The court documents said the first and second co-defendants were the only people who assaulted the complainant, but Mr Summerrell-Jenkins was present during the incident and “no person, at any stage, helps [the complainant]”.

As Mr Summerrell-Jenkins, who is from Conder, already faced charges stemming from a separate alleged incident, he had to demonstrate there were special circumstances in his case before he could apply for bail in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday (5 April).

Magistrate Taylor said it was not clear what the particulars of his alleged offending were when the assault occurred, saying his conduct at its highest appeared to be laughing and filming the incident which, perhaps rightly, drew “moral outrage” from police.

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Mr Edmonds said the court document’s reference to laughter was consistent with nervous laughter, and his client was a silent, passive bystander. He also said any alleged breach of bail was “strenuously denied”.

Magistrate Taylor found special circumstances existed for her to hear the bail application, and while the prosecution opposed bail, it was ultimately granted bail on strict conditions before the matter was adjourned to 7 June.

Mr Summerrell-Jenkins has pleaded not guilty to charges that include aiding and abetting an assault and being knowingly concerned in a robbery.

Region Media has not named the three co-accused because it was unknown what stages their cases were up to in the courts.

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