Judge changes restraining order against schoolboy

A pupil at a Tyrone school has been placed under a restraining order, banning him from harassing, pestering or annoying a fellow pupil.

However, a judge rejected similar orders against three former co-accused, two who have since left the school and one who consistently denied any involvement in the original case.

This was a follow-on from a case of four youths who were scheduled to stand trial at Dungannon Crown Court, but the case collapsed on the morning it was to begin.

The youths, who can not be identified due to their age, were each accused of five counts of assaulting and robbing a boy of £3, every week from 24 May and 27 June 2015.

A jury, comprising of six men and six women was sworn in, but that was as far as the trial was to go.

Prosecution counsel advised he had been instructed to offer no evidence, after which His Honour Judge Stephen Fowler QC ordered the jury to find all four accused not guilty by direction

The youths were told they were free to leave.

However the case returned to court after a decision was taken to seek restraining orders against the four youths, post acquittal.

Judge Fowler rejected two applications outright as the youths in question are no longer at the school.

One was granted and put in place for 12 months, during which the youth is prohibited from harassing, pestering or annoying the victim.

The final application was challenged by the defence who argued against the order, pointing out at all times his client denied any involvement in the incidents, unlike his three co-accused.

Judge Fowler said on the basis of the consistent denials he was refusing the restraining order.

The youth who attended the hearing in his uniform, accompanied by his parents, left the court to return to school.

It was a case which began at Dungannon Youth Court two years ago, where the four accused appeared with the exception of days they were excused to attend school.

All four have since completed their GCSE’s with two still attending the school, as does the former complainant. The others have since left and are in full-time education elsewhere.