The Canadian Press
(The Canadian Press)
A Nova Scotia Crown attorney is asking a judge to kick a 15-year-old girl off social media as part of her sentencing after she pleaded guilty to a "brutal" assault that was filmed and posted on Facebook.
The 15-year-old girl, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was charged after a female student — with autism — was punched and kicked at Sherwood Park Education Centre in Sydney earlier this year.
"It was a planned attack. It was lunchtime, the accused stood and waited for the victim to come through the hall at lunchtime, stated her name and then sucker punched her, knocked her on the floor and proceeded to grab her by the hair and kick her in the head and facial area," said Steve Drake, the Crown attorney.
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"It all happened in approximately 10 to 12 seconds. It was brutal."
A second student testified she was forced to film the assault and post it on Facebook.
Drake said it was only good luck that the victim didn't suffer more serious injuries than bruising.
The prosecutor said police have described the 15-year-old offender as the "bully of all bullies" and has asked a Nova Scotia youth court judge to bar the girl from accessing all forms of social media while on probation, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
"There was an assault and there were two people involved. One person actually did the assault, the other person videotaped it on a smartphone and that was uploaded to Facebook. So therein lies the connection between the assault and Facebook," Drake said.
"Social media is a reality. Facebook might be a staple in the social lives of young people but if it's used as a vehicle for the commission of crime, what I said to the court is that someone should take away the key."
Drake said he believes it's the first time in Nova Scotia there has been a request for a social media ban in such a case. He cited a case in Manitoba, earlier this year, when a judge ordered a 12-year-old girl to stay off Facebook while she spends a year on probation for an online threat against two other girls.
While it may be difficult to enforce, Drake said it's no different than barring a drunk driver from driving or requiring a drug abuser to stay away from drugs.
"It's something that's difficult to monitor but it's also difficult to monitor a probation order where the court directs that someone with a long-term alcohol problem and addiction is not to drink any alcohol. It's no different," said Drake.
"At some point in time if you're on Facebook, people will know and if someone who's interested in making sure that this probation order is enforced sees that the person's on Facebook, no different than someone driving along the highway and calling in a drunk driver."
The Crown and defence are requesting a lengthy probation period.
Provincial court Judge David Ryan, sitting as a youth court judge, is expected to impose a sentence on Oct. 30.