Girl seriously injured in assault by another pupil loses High Court battle to have him expelled
A TEENAGE girl seriously injured in a "callous and malicious" assault by another pupil has lost a High Court battle to have him expelled from their school.
The GCSE pupil challenged the decision to allow the perpetrator to return to classes following suspension for subjecting her to a slide tackle-type attack which was filmed and shared with others.
The girl, who suffers from a separate medical condition, underwent emergency hospital treatment on a dislocated knee after the incident in May.
A judge who viewed the footage described it as a highly reckless. nasty, intentional and premeditated assault.
"At worst, it was a callous and malicious attack on a vulnerable girl for the gruesome entertainment of others," Mr Justice Scoffield said.
"The fact that it was intentionally recorded is a particularly unsavoury feature."
The girl, who cannot be identified, had to put in a full leg cast, required physiotherapy and spent seven weeks at home following the assault.
Footage of the incident showed the perpetrator, referred to as Pupil C, taking her unawares with a legs-raised "slide tackle" from behind while they were on school premises.
The victim's parents claim that prior to the attack she was also struck repeatedly with a basketball and had her blazer soaked with a carton of juice.
With footage widely distributed among the school's population, students were told at an assembly that the recording must be removed and deleted from their devices.
That dissemination among the girls' peers contributed to the significant emotional and psychological effects she suffered, the court heard.
Pupil C, who initially claimed it had been a football accident, was suspended. But following a process where he expressed remorse and wrote a letter of apology to the girl, the board of governors decided on June 29 not to expel him. Instead, they determined that he should be readmitted at the start of the new academic year under an extended behaviour contract likened to a final warning.
Lawyers for the family claimed the decision not to expel Pupil C was procedurally unfair, irrational and in breach of human rights.
Dismissing the judicial review challenge, however, Mr Justice Scoffield said he understood the parents' strength of feeling but ruled that the decision taken by the board of governors was lawful.
"In the absence of legal error, it is not for the courts to seek to manage the maintenance of discipline in the classroom or playground," he held.