The parents of two Lester Vaughan School students watched helplessly Thursday as their children were whisked away – one to Her Majesty’s Prison, Dodds, the other to the Government Industrial School (GIS) – for the weekend, after admitting to their involvement in the beating of a schoolmate that was captured on camera and went viral on social media.
The two – 16-year-old Kaviah Smith who was remanded to prison, and a 14-year-old boy who will await sentencing at GIS – were among three pupils of the St Thomas secondary school who walked into the District “D” Magistrates’ Court Thursday morning to answer the charge of assaulting a 15-year-old student, occasioning her actual bodily harm last Wednesday.
The third accused, a 15-year-old girl who is charged with the same offence, pleaded not guilty and was granted $500 bail.
There was little expression on the trio’s faces when they entered the court just after 11 a.m., after being interviewed by a probation officer.
Their disposition was in stark contrast to the parents who accompanied them. The guardians appeared anxious as their children went before Magistrate Ian Weekes to answer for their roles in what has been described as a violent attack on their schoolmate.
In the video, the girl is seen being chased by an angry mob –– some of whom could be heard hurling expletives –– before she falls to the ground and is kicked repeatedly in the head by some of her peers.
The attack allegedly followed an argument over a $15 bottle of hair spritz.
Despite the high profile nature of the case, less than a dozen onlookers stood just outside the gates of the court under an almond tree, from as early as 9 a.m., in the hope of getting a look at the accused trio Thursday.
They would get their wish sometime later as the 15-year-old who was granted bail walked out of the courtroom accompanied by a parent, just after 12:30 p.m., following a 45-minute appearance before the magistrate.
The other parents gathered in the waiting area at the front of the court as Smith and the male teen were escorted into a waiting police vehicle a short while later and transported to their remand locations.
The students will know their fate when they reappear before the magistrate next Monday. Sergeant Derwin Thompson is prosecuting the case.
The victim of the assault, who is reportedly nursing serious injuries, was not in court to see her alleged attackers.
However, attorney-at-law Verla Depeiza, who is representing her, made an appearance.
Speaking to reporters just outside the court, the lawyer provided minimal details of what had transpired when the three went to answer their charges, but said she could not give an update on the teen’s health, as she did not have the all-clear from the child’s mother to do so.
The three accused of attacking Depeiza’s client were not the only ones from The Lester Vaughan School facing Magistrate Weekes Thursday.
Another 15-year-old girl also appeared before the judicial officer on separate charges of assaulting two other 16-year-old students, occasioning them actual bodily harm. She pleaded guilty to one charge and denied the other. She too was remanded to the Government Industrial School.
However, unlike her schoolmates, she is scheduled to make her second appearance in court on June 1.