'Referrals' for youths guilty of St Albans assault and theft

PUBLISHED: 15:47 16 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 06 May 2010

TWO youths pleaded guilty to beating up another teenager and stealing a mobile phone from his friend. The two 17-year-olds appeared in court together with a 16-year-old who also pleaded guilty to being involved in stealing the mobile phone on February 7 i

TWO youths pleaded guilty to beating up another teenager and stealing a mobile phone from his friend.

The two 17-year-olds appeared in court together with a 16-year-old who also pleaded guilty to being involved in stealing the mobile phone on February 7 in Holywell Hill, St Albans.

The defendants, all from Hemel Hempstead, were involved in a spat outside Blockbuster in London Road with two 15-year-old youths over what was said on a social networking site.

Following the dispute, the three defendants chased the other youths down Holywell Hill which ended in one of them being assaulted and the other being robbed of his mobile phone.

The court heard that the teenager who was assaulted claimed to have been kicked in the head, which had remained sore since the attack.

All three defendants expressed regret about their actions in court. The magistrates were told that they all had brilliant prospects and each hoped to go on to university.

The 16-year-old guilty of theft was given a six-month referral. The two 17-year-olds were both given nine-month referrals and ordered to pay compensation to their victim.

All three were also asked to pay £55 in costs.

A referral order is given to a young person who pleads guilty and when it is their first time in court. The person receiving the order is required to attend a youth offender panel which is made up of two volunteers from the local community and a panel adviser from a youth offending team. The panel, offender and their parents/carers agree a contract lasting for a certain period. The aim is to repair the harm caused and to address the causes of the offence. The conviction is spent after the contract has been completed successfully and in most circumstances the offender will not have to disclose the conviction when applying for work.

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