Facebook taunts behind bashing

Racial slurs exchanged on Facebook and in telephone text messages preceded a fight in which a 13-year-old Hunter girl bashed a teenage rival, a court has heard.

The 13-year-old, who cannot be named, received a nine-month good behaviour bond, without conviction, in Raymond Terrace Children’s Court yesterday.

She pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Police facts tendered to the court said three girls, including the 13-year-old, followed a 17-year-old female as she walked towards her home in a caravan park about 12.55pm on May 19.

The older female had previously invited the 13-year-old to have a fight with her in the park.

Just before being followed, the 17-year-old had been involved in an argument with the other girls over a history of hostility and offensive comments made on Facebook, including racial slurs.

The older female was walking away after the argument when the 13-year-old came from behind and punched her in the head.

The 17-year-old fell to the ground, where the other teenager punched her three more times.

The older girl adopted a foetal position and put her arms over her head to protect herself.

The 13-year-old kicked her body about four times and punched her again.

The older teen sustained facial swelling and a laceration to her lower lip.

Police attended about 1.10pm, spoke to witnesses and viewed closed-circuit television footage that identified the offender.

After attending the 13-year-old’s home and finding she was not there, police spoke to her mother.

The girl and her mother attended the police station about 3.35pm.

The police facts said that when spoken to about the assault allegation, the girl stated: ‘‘We used to be friends ... she was calling me a black dog over texts.’’

The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched a campaign this week encouraging young people to take positive action to stop cyber bullying.

The BackMeUp campaign is based on research from specialists who say one in 10 Australian children has been bullied online. The website is backmeup.somethingincommon.gov.au/home.

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