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Schoolboy allegedly assaulted by another youth wins High Court permission to challenge a decision to reduce the charge

Laganside Court in Belfast

A SCHOOLBOY allegedly kicked about the head by another youth has won High Court permission to challenge a decision to reduce the criminal charge.

Judges granted leave to seek a judicial review of the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) move amid claims it breached victim notification requirements.

The boy was aged 14 when he was allegedly attacked at a location in Belfast in 2016.

The incident had been filmed and footage then posted online, according to his legal team.

A youth now aged 16 was arrested and charged with attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.

But on the day he was due to go on trial the PPS reduced the count against him to common assault.

He pleaded guilty to that offence and was due to be sentenced when legal proceedings were launched.

Lawyers representing the assault victim and his family claim they were not consulted before the lesser charge was imposed.

They contend that the decision breached their human rights and the Department of Justice's Victim Charter.

In court today a panel of two judges confirmed they were granting leave for the challenge to advance to a full hearing in March.

Neither teenager can be identified because of their ages.

Outside court the victim's solicitor, Brian Archer, insisted his client wants the common assault conviction quashed and the original charge reinstated.

Mr Archer said: "The prosecution never consulted with my client's mother before they made the decision.

"Under the Victim Charter the PPS should have discussed the reduction to the charge and asked for her views and those of her son.

"That didn't happen, and that's why we have been left with no option but to seek a judicial review."

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