Penticton high school student pleads guilty to assaulting former friend - InfoNews

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Penticton high school student pleads guilty to assaulting former friend

Princess Margaret Secondary School in Penticton.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
February 27, 2017 - 8:00 PM

PENTICTON - Two Penticton high school students, who were once friends, were in court today with one of them charged with assaulting the other.

The accused pleaded guilty to assault in Penticton court today, Feb. 27. Neither the accused nor the victim, both 15 years old, can be named due to the Youth Offenders Act.

Crown prosecutor Ann Lerechs told court the accused was a student in grade 9 at Princess Margaret High School when she assaulted a classmate on June 20, 2016. The accused grabbed the victim’s backpack and punched the girl three times as she was leaving a classroom on the last day of school.

The incident was the result of a long-simmering dispute between the two, who were former friends, according to defence lawyer James Pennington.

Police were called to the school following the incident, and after interviewing several teachers and students, went to the accused’s home and arrested her on an assault charge.

The student was taken to the Penticton RCMP detachment where she became physical and verbally abusive after being told to remove some jewellery. Police had to take her to the floor in order to restrain her. She was placed in a jail cell where it took until the following day for her to be deemed calm enough for release.

A pre-sentence report noted the girl’s past drug and alcohol abuse. The report also said the girl’s remorse was centred mainly on herself, and her parent’s involvement in the court process rather than any empathy for the victim.

Lerechs also read the victim’s impact statement to the court. She said the victim had switched schools, was now anxious and nervous in groups, and worried about life after the accused’s non-contact order was removed. Lerechs did, however, say the pre-sentence report was “fairly positive” overall, seeking a term of 18 months probation.

Pennington referred to the long running dispute between the two girls. He said his client ignored threats made against he,r and after finally having had enough took matters into her own hands.

Pennington said the girl had since “put her head down” and applied herself to her school work. She had completed a couple of courses for this year’s curriculum and was to begin a summer job shortly.

Judge Gale Sinclair, in recalling his experience raising teenagers, pointed to the student’s behaviour at the police station.

“There’s a little attitude going on here,” he said. 

Sinclair sentenced the girl to 15 months probation. She has been ordered to stay away from the victim or any place the victim is likely to be. She must also make a formal apology to the victim by April 28.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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