A 15-year-old boy has been accused of psychological domestic abuse against his 14-year-old girlfriend, making him the youngest person to face prosecution under the new legislation. It is alleged the boy engaged in a course of behaviour between 17 and 22 October, which was considered abusive towards the third-year pupil at Perth Secondary School. His aim was allegedly to “control, regulate and monitor her day-to-day activities and to frighten, humiliate, degrade and punish her”.
Screens were put up and a CCTV system was installed at Perth Sheriff Court as the boy could not appear in a typical adult courtroom setting due to his age. Sheriff Keith O’Mahoney also removed his wig and gown and explained it was a “fairly unusual way to proceed” with a case and that the jury room was repurposed into a makeshift courtroom for the hearing because “certain legal matters require us to have this trial in this context.”
The 15-year-old was allowed to have his father beside him as Crown witnesses gave evidence against him. The witness list included the accused’s girlfriend who said they were arguing in a house while watching a film and the boy punched a glass panel, injuring his hand. The deputy headteacher of Perth Secondary School also spoke to the room, stating he called the police after seeing the couple clash outside of the school:
“I saw him arguing with her and her arguing back and I saw him take his two hands and push her on the shoulders and she staggered back.”
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies the behaviour which allegedly caused ‘psychological harm’ to his girlfriend.
Passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2019, the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 criminalises ‘coercive and controlling behaviours’. The law looks to tackle the full spectrum of domestic abuse and not just physical violence. It created a single offence which covers psychological, financial or sexual abuse and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
Under the Act, abusive behaviour is defined as that which has the following effects on the victim:
The Government’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach to domestic abuse has meant that more cases than ever are being brought to the courts across Scotland. The consequences of getting arrested, charged or convicted on a domestic abuse charge are severe. It can not only hurt your family but also your reputation, which is why we will work tirelessly to ensure you get the best possible outcome if you instruct one of our criminal defence lawyers.
If you have been accused of domestic abuse, it is vital that you speak with a qualified criminal defence solicitor who specialises in domestic abuse cases. Our lawyers at Keith J Tuck Solicitors are highly-skilled in defending clients who have been accused of domestic abuse and can provide first-class legal advice and representation. Please speak with a member of our team today by calling 0141 336 2020 or via the online enquiry form.