16-year-old sentenced today for assault on Private of the Royal Regiment of Scotland

07/12/2011

A 16-year-old boy was sentenced today at Newport Youth Court to a sixth month detention and training order for the assault of a soldier in Cowes.

Hayley Porter-Straw, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wessex said: The defendant had very clear intentions when he entered Cowes on 15 October 2011; he wanted to start a fight. The 16-year-old prepared himself by wearing motorcycle gloves with carbon fibre knuckles, described by a witness as dangerous and then tried to provoke a fight, by goading and baiting members of the public.

"Frustrated by the lack of response, he punched an innocent passer-by, Jamie Laws, in a completely unprovoked assault causing Mr. Laws to spin around and collapse on the floor. The defendant returned minutes later and attacked him again, leaving him with a cut above the eye, bruising and blood loss. Four weeks after the attack, Mr. Laws still had a visible scar from the injury to his eye. The defendant was heard to proudly announce to his friends "I've just done this matey in, Ive done him.

"We carefully reviewed the evidence provided to us by the police and it was clear from the CCTV and witnesses statement that the defendant was responsible for attacking Mr Laws.

"Mr Laws, 22, is a Private of the 5th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and at the time of the attack had recently been repatriated from Afghanistan for emergency surgery. His friend explained in his witness statement that whilst on duty, Mr Laws had been caught in a bomb explosion which badly damaged his arm.  As a result, he lost the full use of his hand and could not have defended himself from this attack.

"He also added that Mr Laws was in a fragile state emotionally and physically as a result of the traumatic events he experienced in Afghanistan."

"The evidence was so compelling that the defendant was left with no choice but to plead guilty. As a result, Mr Laws will not need to attend court to give evidence; an experience that we know can be difficult for victims of crime.

"We hope that the fact that justice was delivered swiftly will bring some comfort to Mr Laws and we would like to thank the witnesses in this case, and the Police who helped us to bring a strong case to Court."

The defendant was sentenced today at Newport Youth Court to a sixth month detention and training order.