A teenager has fallen foul of the law for taking matters into his own hands and assaulting a student with special needs, because he believed they had been inappropriate to young girls and his friends at school. The 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named because he is underage, appeared before Rockingham Children’s Court on Wednesday, June 7, where he pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm. The student was walking home from school on May 17 last year when the teenager, who was riding a bike, caught up to him and pushed him to the ground. He then struck the younger boy to the face and fled, leaving his victim with a cut lip. When police later interviewed the teenager his explanation was: “He was touching girls and calling my friends the N word”. Police prosecutor Sgt Brian Sutherland told the court the victim was a Year 7 student from the same high school as the teenager. The incidents that sparked his reaction had occurred during a lunch break. Legal Aid lawyer Claire Rossi said the teenager had been unaware of the other boy’s disabilities at the time and was extremely remorseful for his behaviour. “His grandparents have since spoken to him about his behaviour and have said that it is OK to defend yourself, but you don’t take matters into your own hands,” she said. “He was trying to stick up for the younger girls and his friends but has been a bit reactive on this occasion. “He feels very bad for not only the age of the young person but the fact that he has his own challenges as well.” The teenager received a five-month community-based order with supervision and program requirements. Magistrate Catherine Crawford said she understood the teenager was sticking up for others but the incident could have been dealt with in a better way. She urged him to realise and remember that people don’t know what others in the community are dealing with and of the “need to be respectful”.