An Auckland teenager has admitted his role in attacking
schoolboy Stephen Dudley and will be sentenced in August.
The teen, whose name is permanently suppressed, was to have
faced trial for manslaughter but in the High Court at
Auckland today pleaded guilty to an amended charge of assault
with intent to injure.
Prosecutor Aaron Perkins said the manslaughter charge was
withdrawn after the Crown received two expert reports on
cardiac pathology and arrhythmia.
When Stephen was assaulted he had an undiagnosed heart
"[The Crown] forms a view it no longer has a reasonable
prospect of establishing beyond reasonable doubt that the
alleged assault... was a substantial and operative cause of
the death of the deceased," Mr Perkins said.
Earlier this year another teenage boy was discharged without
conviction on an assault charge laid in connection with
Stephen's death last year. That teenager was also to have
faced trial for manslaughter but, like the teen who appeared
in court today, admitted a lower charge when the Crown
amended its indictment.
Stephen, 15, died after a school rugby training session on
June 6 last year. He was taken to Auckland City Hospital
after being assaulted and died a short time later.
Stephen was struck by the two boys and did not throw a punch
The teenager who pleaded guilty today was bailed until his
sentencing in August. Justice Mark Cooper did not enter a
conviction and ordered a pre-sentence report.