A TEENAGER shot and scarred for life while poaching for rabbits has today (Monday, January 7) been sentenced to a nine-month youth rehabilition order.
However, no action is to be taken against anyone involved in firing the weapon, South Durham Youth Court was told – a situation the youth's defence agent described as “strange”.
The 15-year-old, from the Bishop Auckland area, was out with two friends and their dogs on a public footpath at Eldon at about 10.45pm on November 22 when the incident happened.
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Jonathan Bamburgh, prosecuting, said that although the defendant's dog had been kept on its lead, the other dogs were let off, racing onto private farmland, killing a rabbit.
“A weapon was discharged and a pellet caused injuries to his mouth,” he said.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had previously pleaded guilty to trespassing on land at night and destroying a rabbit on the basis he had taken part in a joint enterprise, the court was told.
Robert Willoughby, defending, said: “It seems strange he is the only person to come before the court.
“He was walking along a public footpath and kept his dog on the lead, although he accepts he was part and parcel to the offence.
“There were two people shooting guns and the police decided not to take any action – this seems very strange.”
Mr Willoughby added: “He (the defendant) was very lucky. He was hit in the face – it went through his top lip. He will be scarred for life. He reported what had happened and he ended up being summonsed.”
The teenager also pleaded guilty to stealing items worth £2,625 from a delivery van parked in Buckingham Terrace, Leeholme, and to a charge of using threatening words or behaviour and resisting arrest in Shildon.
A charge of interfering with a vehicle in Coundon, with which he was jointly charged alongside a 14-year-old was withdrawn and dismissed.
In addition to the youth rehabilition order, he was made subject to an eight-week curfew, from 8pm to 7am, and ordered to complete a 21-hour supervision order.
The teenager was also ordered to pay £1,000 compensation towards the cost of the items taken from the vehicle – which included a scanner used to record deliveries to customers, a portable DVD player and socket set – and £15 victim surcharge.