Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Delays Allow Knifing Teen to Walk Free

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Delays Allow Knifing Teen to Walk Free

Article excerpt

A MIDDLESBROUGH boy who knifed a teenager has been allowed to keep his freedom because of delays bringing his case to court.

Steven Willis, 17, handed himself and his knife in at a police station and made a confession two days after inflicting the arm injury to 15-year-old Benjamin Jukic, a court heard.

But he was not charged until nine months later, and it took another seven months before he was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

Judge Peter Bowers said if Willis had faced sentence a year ago, he would have been locked up for at least two years. In the meantime he had turned his life around.

The judge gave him an 18-month community punishment and rehabilitation order with 100 hours' unpaid work, a six-month curfew with tagging and ordered him to pay his victim pounds 500 compensation.

He told Willis: "I think the prosecution have effectively deprived me of the sort of sentence the public would demand.

"And I make it clear that it should not happen in the future when a young man has to wait for almost 18 months in a clear open-and-shut case. …

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