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Teenagers involved in alleged assaults at Champion Bay and Geraldton senior high schools appear in court

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Fraser WilliamsGeraldton Guardian
Five Geraldton teenagers accused of attacking students and a teacher at two high schools on the same day have faced court.
Camera IconFive Geraldton teenagers accused of attacking students and a teacher at two high schools on the same day have faced court. Credit: Anita Kirkbright / Geraldton Gua

Five Geraldton teenagers accused of attacking students and a teacher at two high schools on the same day — in alleged retaliation to social media comments over a fatal house fire — have faced court for the first time.

The teenagers, four girls and one boy whose ages range from 14-16, appeared in Geraldton Children’s Court on Tuesday for the alleged assaults on three different students and a teacher at Champion Bay and Geraldton senior high schools last month.

Only one of the teenagers was being charged for the alleged assaults, they pleaded not guilty to assaulting a public officer and entered no pleas for the other assault charges.

The other four teenagers were not required to plead and all accepted responsibility for a mix of assaults on three different students and one teacher. Another teen accepted responsibility for aggravated burglary and another accepted responsibility for smashing a window at the school.

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The aggravated burglary was in relation to the teenager entering the grounds of a school they do not attend.

It is understood the alleged attacks were launched after comments were posted on social media about the fatal house fire in Mount Tarcoola on June 1. It is not suggested the alleged victims of the school attacks were responsible for any offensive social media comments.

When the student was allegedly being attacked in a classroom at Champion Bay, a teacher stepped in to stop and was then assaulted by the teenagers. Both alleged attacks were filmed and posted on social media.

Magistrate Angus Hockton said people like teachers needed protection.

“They were just stepping in to do their duty, if they let you do what you were doing then they would be neglecting their duty,” he said.

The four teenagers who accepted responsibility will be required to participate in court conferencing, which would direct them to amend their actions however the court sees appropriate.

“It could require you to write an apology letter to the victim . . . or it could be that you have to go repair the broken window,” Mr Hockton said

The court was told none of the teenagers have a record. They were all granted bail with the conditions that they do not have contact with the alleged victims.

They will all reappear in court on August 15.

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