Mother of boy who died in river challenges decision not to prosecute teenager’s death

The mother of a 13-year-old boy, who died after she was allegedly pushed into a river, has begun a battle with the High Court for not prosecuting the teenager accused of her son’s death.

Christopher Kapesa was allegedly pushed into the Sinon River by a 14-year-old boy in July 2019. Although police found evidence to support prosecutors for murder, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it was not in the public interest to make charges. teenager.

The CPS strongly denied that race played any role in its decision – as claimed by Christopher’s mother, Alina Joseph.

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Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb has allowed an application by Ms Joseph for judicial review at the High Court in London. It has launched legal action against Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill, who heads the CPS. The matter started on Thursday morning.

About a dozen preachers and friends gather at the Royal Court of Justice, while two High Court judges oversee the decision.

Michael Mansfield QC, representing Ms Joseph, told two judges, Lord Justice Poppwell and Mr Justice Dove, that the CPS’s decision was “unreasonable or irrational”.

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Christopher Kapesa died near a river crossing bridge near Fernhill in Mount Ashu

In a written case outline, he said: “The defendant’s decision fails to properly value human life, particularly the life of the victim child. The defendant fails to give due respect to the gravity of the harm from the offence.” He added: “Undue and undue weight has been given to the impact of the prosecution on the future of the offender.”

Mr Mansfield said the message sent did not inspire confidence in the justice system. He said the evidence exists to provide a “realistic probability” of punishment for murder. The judges were told that 16 people were present at the time of Christopher’s death.

Mr Mansfield said Christopher had expressed concern about his lack of ability to swim and that he “was not inclined to freely enter the water”.

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He added: “The suspect deliberately pushed him into the water. Christopher drowned and was killed as a result.” He said that Christopher and his family were “relatively new” to the area and were a black family living in a predominantly white community. The judges ruled that the suspect could not be identified in media reports of the case.

Mr Mansfield argued that the decision not to prosecute was “unlawful” and “should be rescinded”.

He said the “suspect” was now 17 years old.

“One factor – the youth of the offender – is given a lot of weight here,” he said.

“The suspect in this case is currently 17 years old, but this unlawful act does not preclude the public interest in accountability for death by manslaughter.

“It shall not be ‘proportionate’ to prosecute a child or young person for the murder committed by him.

“The youth of the offender is a factor that a criminal court itself may rightly take into account when awarding a sentence…”

Mr Mansfield said Ms Joseph had detailed the information she had received in a witness statement.

He told the judges in a written case outline: “It determines a history of misinformation from prosecuting authorities in relation to the death and events of his son: the original source of what was reported about his son was jumped, or Was slipped, rather pushed to be motivated by untruths spread by the suspect and his close friends, including lies told to the police.

Mr Mansfield said she wanted to “fully understand what happened to her son” and “see justice in accordance with that truth”.

Candles have been lit outside the courts ahead of the review to remember Christopher, who would have turned 16 on January 6.

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Christopher Kapesa now 16. will be of

Christopher’s uncle Mark King, who is in London ahead of the hearing, told the BBC: “Today is a day of remembrance, the family is very eager for justice. It’s been a very long time – two and a half years. – too long. Since then, the family is waiting for answers and fighting for justice.

“It’s so hard to be honest with you, every time Christopher Kapesa’s name comes up, everything comes back again, so hopefully today we get the answers to our questions so we can tell the family – family here, family home back – and they will find out why and how Christopher died.”

Sinon Valley MP Beth Winter said: “It’s a very difficult day and it’s unimaginable what the family has to endure. Today is about finding the truth, about justice and hopefully reconciliation.”

Judicial review allows a person who has been affected by a decision or failure to act by a public authority to apply to the courts to determine whether those acts were lawful.

The judge allowed the application on five grounds, including the CPS’s decision failing to “appropriately value human life” and giving “undue and undue weight” to the impact of the prosecution on the juvenile suspect.

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