16-Year-Old Boy Won’t Go To Jail For Attacking Couple On Bus
A teenager who admitted to throwing coins at a same-sex couple on a London bus has been let off with a referral order.
In May this year, Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan were assaulted by a group of teenagers on a bus, who started demanding the couple kiss in front of them and made rude gestures towards them. When the women refused, the gang physically attacked them, leaving them both covered in blood and needing hospital treatment.
The harrowing photograph of the aftermath of the assault was shared across the world, sparking outrage at the way the women had been treated.
One of the boys involved, from Wandsworth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to an eight-month youth referral order and 12 hours reparation at Wimbledon Magistrates Court today, December 19, for two counts of harassment, theft, and handling stolen goods.
Three boys, aged 15, 16, and 17, admitted in court last month they had used threatening or abusive words or behaviour against the two women.
A 17-year-old, from Chelsea, has contested that he was hostile towards the women based on their sexual orientations. He was sentenced to a four-month youth rehabilitation order for harassing the couple.
Speaking out at the time of the attack, Melania described it as ‘chauvinist, misogynistic and homophobic violence’ on her Facebook page. In an article in The Guardian written by Christine Hannigan herself, she said the attack was ‘par for the course in 2019’ before urging everyone to ‘make the extraordinary reaction to our attack the norm’.
Writing on Facebook, Melania spoke up bravely against acts of homophobic violence:
What upsets me the most is that VIOLENCE HAS BECOME A COMMON THING, that sometimes it’s necessary to see a woman bleeding after having been punched to feel some kind of impact.
I’m tired of being taken as a SEXUAL OBJECT, of finding out that these situations are usual, of gay friends who were beaten up JUST BECAUSE. We have to endure verbal harassment AND CHAUVINIST, MISOGYNISTIC AND HOMOPHOBIC VIOLENCE because when you stand up for yourself shit like this happens.
By the way, I am thankful to all the women and men in my life that understand that HAVING BALLS MEANS SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. I just hope that in June, Pride Month, stuff like this can be spoken out loudly so they STOP HAPPENING!
The three teenagers admitted to targeting the women on the bus before the trial started last month, admitting harassment under the Public Order Act, the Mirror reports. During the trial, the prosecution said the attack was the result of a ‘homophobic trigger’, and described the incident ‘taunting’ and ‘degrading’.
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