The 15-year-old Lester Vaughan schoolgirl who was the victim of a violent beating at the hands of her schoolmates earlier this month is seeking compensation for her injuries.
Attorney-at-law Verla Depeiza made the disclosure Monday as a fourth student appeared in court charged in connection with the incident that was recorded and went viral on social media.
Speaking to reporters this afternoon just outside the District ‘D’ Magistrates’ Court where the first three accused also made their second appearance, Depeiza explained that she was attending the proceedings for the purpose of a “watch and brief”.
“My client is seeking compensation for her injuries. The reason for the watch and brief is because we did not know who the persons were . . . and that is why we are here. With a watch and brief you are not actually taking part in the proceedings,” she explained.
The newly charged student, a 13-year-old girl, is accused of assaulting Depeiza’s client, occasioning her actual bodily harm. She denied the charge when she appeared before Magistrates Ian Weekes in a hearing that began around 11:43 a.m. and was completed just after 12:30 p.m. She was represented by attorneys-at-law Danielle Mottley and Shadia Simpson.
Unlike at last Thursday’s court appearance, the other accused were all represented by attorneys.
The 15-year-old girl who pleaded not guilty to the offence on her first time before the court had a change of heart Monday and admitted to her involvement.
That confession resulted in the teen, who was represented by attorney Santia Bradshaw, being remanded to the Government Industrial School until June 1.
The other two, who had pleaded guilty and were remanded for the weekend, have been released on bail.
The 14-year-old male student, who is now represented by legal counsel Angella Mitchell-Gittens, was granted $500 bail after spending four nights at the Government Industrial School, while 16-year-old Kaviah Berrie-Smith who was remanded to HMP Dodds was granted bail in the sum of $1,500. She too was represented by Mitchell-Gittens in association with Simpson.
Despite the latest developments, Depeiza made it clear that there was “no satisfaction” to be derived from the students facing the court for their actions.
“It is hard to speak about satisfaction when you are talking about children. My client is a child; satisfaction is not what you would expect. Nobody is going to feel good that anyone is going to be remanded, no one is going to feel satisfied when someone is being sent to prison. There is no feeling of satisfaction that comes with that,” she insisted.
The video of her client’s ordeal had evoked the ire of members of the public, as the girl was seen being chased by an angry mob –– some of whom could be heard hurling expletives –– before falling to the ground and being kicked repeatedly in the head by some of her peers. The attack allegedly followed an argument over a $15 bottle of hair spritz.
The case, which is being prosecuted by Sergeant Derwin Thompson, got even less attention Monday than it did last Thursday, with just a handful of onlookers turning up on this occasion.
All four students are scheduled to return to the District ‘D’ Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.