Student cleared of bullying

An 11-year-old boy was cleared of bullying a fellow classmate who was tied to a goal post with a scarf in the schoolyard two years ago, after a magistrate found inconsistencies in evidence heard in court.

Magistrate Doreen Clarke ruled that the evidence produced was not enough to find the student guilty of bullying another boy at school.

He had been accused, along with another three boys, of bullying a boy when they tied him to a goal post. The incident took place on March 1, 2011 at Stella Maris College in Gżira.

The prosecution had requested the separation of judgment and the other boys who had pleaded guilty to the charges. They had been conditionally discharged.

The court heard that the children were playing ‘cowboys and Indians’ at the time of the incident although none of them said it was all part of a game.

The accused, who is from Birkirkara, was cleared after Magistrate Clarke found inconsistencies in the details of the case and on the involvement of each of the accused.

She noted that all eight schoolchildren brought to testify in the case gave different versions of what had happened and what they were meant to have seen. Deeming this “very worrying”, the magistrate said the court could not take any action against them (for lying) because of their young age.

The magistrate said that while the victim testified that the boys kicked him in the legs and back while he was tied to the goal post, his mother noticed no bruising.

In view of the inconsistencies, the magistrate ruled that the case had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt and therefore cleared the accused of the charges brought against him.

Lawyer Roberto Montalto appeared for the boy who had, from the outset, denied his involvement in the case.

Inspector Anne Marie Micallef prosecuted.


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