1 August 2022

Teen who stabbed another boy at Weston Creek skatepark has 'already been severely punished'

| Albert McKnight
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.

The teenager who was acquitted of murder at the Weston Creek skatepark but admitted stabbing another boy in the back has already been severely punished, his lawyer told the court ahead of his sentencing.

The sentence hearing against the teen took place in the ACT Supreme Court, but much of what was said was suppressed so it cannot be published.

The boy was 15 when he and 11 others went to the fight at the skatepark in the early hours of 27 September 2020.

An 18-year-old man was stabbed five times during the brawl, including once to the heart.

In June 2022, a jury found the now-17-year-old not guilty of murdering the man, ending an ACT Supreme Court trial that spanned five weeks.

However, he had already admitted stabbing the man’s 16-year-old cousin in the back during the brawl, pleading guilty to a charge of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm. He was released on bail over that charge last month.

On Friday, 29 July, the court heard the 16-year-old was stabbed when others were already assaulting him.

He now has permanent scarring and endured trauma due to the attack.

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But barrister David Barrow said his client had spent a not insignificant period in custody on remand and endured highly restrictive bail conditions.

“There has been quite substantial punishment meted out already,” he said.

“The course of this case to this point has involved periods of remand, periods of quasi-custody [and] extra-curial punishment in a situation where the offence was committed when he was 15 years of age.”

He said the teen’s parents now believed him to be several years behind his peers in terms of education, socialisation and maturity.

Mr Barrow said his client had had an attention deficit disorder from an early age and an expert suggested he was more likely to show impulsiveness.

“He is even more ill-equipped to exercise judgment than an ordinary teen because of the condition,” he said.

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He said this may explain the “reckless and very dangerous” conduct.

Crown Prosecutor Rebecca Christensen SC argued the teen’s prospects of rehabilitation could only be considered to be “guarded”.

She said due to his criminal history, mental health concerns and “acts of escalation to violence that he has demonstrated”, there was a need for an onerous period of supervision when he was sentenced.

Chief Justice Lucy McCallum will hand down her sentence in August.

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