Teen escapes jail sentence

A TEENAGER who admitted punching a friend’s love rival in the face and driving without insurance escaped being locked up after magistrates decided to be lenient with him.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to assault, driving otherwise than in accordance with his licence and without valid insurance when he appeared at Eastbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday (August 9).

Magistrates heard the teenager had been called by a friend asking for help in the early hours of July 5 and later that morning they had run into the victim – who was dating the friend’s ex-girlfriend – and both hit him.

The defendant owned up to the attack, saying he punched him twice, but said it was as a result of abuse being hurled in his direction.

The court was then told the 17-year-old had been caught behind the wheel on March 12 despite only having a provisional licence.

In his defence, his legal team told the magistrates, “He had brought a car that day with the plan to take it home and fix it up ready for when he passed his test but drove it around for a short while.”

The youngster himself said, “I am sorry. I had changed a group of friends and it will never happen again.”

Christopher Hampson, chairman of the bench, gave the teen a referral order, which means a youth offending panel will set an appropriate punishment at a later date alongside activities designed to curb future offending.

He was also given six points on his driving licence.

Mr Hampson said, “This (the order) is there to help you. It is a form of punishment but it is also a method [for you] to move on with your life.”

The teenager was also let off paying court costs because he is unemployed and too young for benefit.