Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Mother sympathises with victim’s family

Attorney for B.B. Coke High student says family empathises with position of complainant’s family

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2023 | 12:09 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
The St Elizabeth Parish Court in Black River where the case against the B.B. Coke High School student is taking place.
The St Elizabeth Parish Court in Black River where the case against the B.B. Coke High School student is taking place.


FAMILY MEMBERS of the grade 11 B.B. Coke High School student accused of beating a schoolmate into unconsciousness for stepping on his shoes last week Thursday have expressed their sympathies towards the complainant’s family.

The mother of the accused 16-year-old schoolboy, neither of whom will be named as the student is a minor, briefly outlined her position on the matter to The Gleaner outside of the St Elizabeth Parish Court on Monday before referring all subsequent enquiries to her son’s attorney, Hopeton Marshall.

“As a mother, I sympathise with the mother [of the complainant], and it is in the hand of the court now. That is all I have to say,” the woman stated concisely.

Marshall spoke at greater length about the family’s stance following a successful bail application for his client, which was held in-camera at the parish court’s Black River branch.

The matter was heard there instead of at the court’s Santa Cruz branch as had been initially anticipated.

“As was expressed in court, especially by his mother, they are so empathetic and I expressed that to the court. It is a very unfortunate situation, and they sympathise with the complainant and his family, and so that is something I wish to put out there,” said Marshall.

“He does not have a history of aggression to this extent. I do not know what is in their school records [at B.B. Coke High], so I will not counter anything that I have not seen, but I can only say what I have said thus far,” Marshall added.

That declaration runs counter to previous reports indicating that the 16-year-old had previously been suspended from school for disrespectful and violent behaviour towards teachers and fellow students.

The teenager has been offered bail in the sum of $300,000 following Monday’s bail application on his behalf by Marshall, and his case will return to court for mention on Wednesday, October 4.

He has been given reporting conditions and a stop order has been placed at all ports to prevent him from leaving the country.

The schoolboy was charged with assault occasioning grievous bodily harm following an incident at the B.B. Coke High School on Thursday, September 28 where he reportedly punched the complainant, a grade nine student, in both eyes and then kicked him in the head.

It is alleged that the attack took place after the complainant accidentally stepped on the accused boy’s shoes.

The complainant, who was carried to a doctor’s office by three other schoolmates, suffered bruising in both eyes and had to be fitted with a neck brace as a result of the attack.

He has since been transferred from the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester to the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew for further treatment to include a CT scan.

In the meantime, Marshall roundly dismissed reports that his client’s shoes, which allegedly had not been changed since he was handed over in to police custody by his mother, were a pair of Clarks.

“He was in court today in the same pair of shoes that he had on, on that day, and that pair of shoes is not a pair of Clarks,” Marshall said briefly.