Family's joy over release of teenager

PUBLISHED: 10:57 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010

THE parents of a bullied schoolgirl locked up after lashing out at her tormentor with a knife were jubilant yesterday (Wednesday) as she was freed from her 18-month sentence in London s Appeal Court. The girl, aged 14 when she wounded the pupil who had b

THE parents of a bullied schoolgirl locked up after lashing out at her tormentor with a knife were jubilant yesterday (Wednesday) as she was freed from her 18-month sentence in London's Appeal Court.

The girl, aged 14 when she wounded the pupil who had been bullying her, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court in September after admitting causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Judge Warwick Mackinnon - sitting at the Appeal Court with Lord Justice Gage - said the Stevenage girl took a kitchen knife to school in June last year as an act of "adolescent bravado" intending to "keep the bullies at bay".

Her QC, Nigel Lambert, claimed the girl was then goaded and provoked by another pupil who picked a fight with her.

During the ensuing scuffle, the other girl repeatedly punched the teenager, claimed the barrister, triggering her ultimate use of the knife which caused "superficial injuries".

Even six months' detention would have been sufficient to send out a message about the need to curb the use of knives, the barrister argued.

Judge Mackinnon said there was no question of the bullied girl being a dangerous offender, and given her age at the time a detention order was inappropriate.

The court quashed the 18-month sentence, substituting a 12-month supervision order.

After the ruling the girl's father said he was "overjoyed that the courts have done the right thing now".

But he added: "She was the victim before the commission of this offence. I'm extremely disappointed that she had to go through what she has endured."

The girl's mother said she was deeply shocked when her daughter received a custodial sentence, adding: "We didn't have any faith in justice before today."

The girl cannot be named by order of the court.

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