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Fighting schoolboys get chance
Seven students of ASJA Boys’ College in Charlieville were given a chance after they pleaded guilty yesterday to fighting in school. They were reprimanded and discharged which means no conviction will be recorded against them. The students were among ten arrested after a fight at the school on March 18. When they first appeared in court they had pleaded not guilty and each were granted $3,000 bail on the condition that they report to the police station once a week.
The boys—ages, 14, 15, 16, 17, Form Four and Five students—also were suspended from school. Yesterday, however, seven of the students changed their plea to guilty. In reading the facts, prosecutor Sgt Ken Ali said around 1.30 pm one of the defendants was standing in the corridor when he was accosted with a knife by another student (also a defendant). The student then tried to stab the other student.
The one with the knife was pushed to the ground and the other students joined in and began beating the student who was still on the ground. In the mitigation plea, attorney Taradath Singh, who represented four of the students, produced several testimonials on behalf of them. He asked the magistrate to consider their age and that they were first-time offenders.
However, the prosecutor submitted that the students did not have a criminal record but they were suspended several times, more than nine times in some instances for a series of delinquent behaviour, including fighting, having weapons, smoking and other offences. Ali said the court could not turn a blind eye about increasing school violence. His request for a probation officer’s report to assist with the court before sentencing was rejected by the magistrate.
In his ruling, the magistrate said among other things he took into consideration the students’ age. The three other students who pleaded not guilty will re-appear in court on May 18.
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