Court finds boy, 14, is too young to be held criminally responsible for death of Melbourne teen Declan Cutler
A Victorian judge has ruled a boy, who was aged 13 when Melbourne teenager Declan Cutler was killed, is too young to be held criminally responsible for his murder.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faced a judge-alone trial in July after he was identified as one of eight boys who attacked and killed 16-year-old Declan as he left a birthday party last year.
Declan became separated from his friends as he left the Reservoir party in the early hours of 13 March, when a stolen Mazda hatchback pulled up.
Eight boys got out, carrying four knives, and stabbed and kicked Declan.
He suffered more than 100 wounds, and died from four fatal stab wounds.
The youngest person in the group, who is now aged 14, was charged with murder and an alternate charge of manslaughter for his alleged part in stomping and kicking Declan while he was being stabbed.
He faced a weeks-long trial where his lawyer argued he was not guilty, citing the doli incapax argument that he was too young to be held criminally responsible.
In the Victorian supreme court on Wednesday, justice Rita Incerti found there was a “reasonable possibility” the boy did not know his conduct was “seriously wrong in a moral sense” when he committed the offending.
She said he cannot be found guilty of murder or manslaughter.
Declan’s supporters screamed and cried from the public gallery upon hearing her verdict.
“It’s disgusting,” one person yelled.
The boy will walk free from court.