WARNING: Some details in this story may be disturbing to readers. Discretion is advised.
The mother of a Surrey, B.C., assault and bullying victim is speaking out after two of the suspects involved in the incident have been sentenced.
“It was extremely emotional. I was very frustrated,” the mother said, after hearing the sentencing results.
“I understand that lawyers have to do their part to defend their clients but things that were said (in court) were very upsetting.”
The suspects have been released under conditions.
Both the mother’s, daughter’s and suspects’ identities are protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The mother thinks the punishments given do not reflect the crimes perpetrated against her then-15-year-old daughter.
“I feel like has been more about the accused than the victim,” she told Global News.
“My daughter has been handed a life sentence. She’s not going to graduate like other kids, and she won’t be able to live a life like a normal kid.
“There have to be consequences for actions.”
Back in May 2022, Surrey RCMP investigated a brutal assault and bullying incident in Surrey, which took place near Hillcrest Elementary School.
The mother said her daughter was lured to the area under the pretext of meeting friends for a birthday cake.
She was instead met by an aggressive group, who kicked and punched her to the ground and forced her to kiss their shoes.
Most of the incident was recorded on video. The incident led to the arrest and charges of three youths.
The first youth suspect received their sentence Jan. 11, 2023, after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm and another charge of breach of release.
“After receiving credit for 161 days of pre-sentence time, the offender was placed on an intensive support and supervision order for 18 months with 18 months less and one day of probation to follow,” BC Prosecution Service staff said in an email.
On Jan. 27, the second youth suspect received their sentence after pleading guilty to assault.
They received a conditional 18-month discharge. The third youth suspect is expected to be sentenced on Feb. 22 after pleading guilty to assault.
The thing the mother found extremely upsetting in court was the defence lawyer’s reaction to a victim impact statement.
“I was upset with the fact that (the defence) lawyers talked about my victim impact statement and how it was more targeted at one of the suspects, and not all of them,” she said.
“That is not the case. Everyone there that stood by and watched it, to me, was just as guilty.”
Victim impact statements were read in court by both the mother and daughter.
“Every day I try to figure out why they would treat me that way, every day I question why this happened to me,” the 15-year-old wrote in her impact statement.
“I was willing to do anything to make them (it) stop and they took advantage of me.
“I feel like I can’t be a kid anymore.”
The mother did say an apology was heard in court by the second suspect but she said the apology did not address the actions taken against her daughter.
“The apology just felt like, ‘I’m sorry, I was in a bad place, and it won’t happen again,’ but there was no emotion in (addressing) the harm and trauma that was caused,” she said.
Global News was not able to obtain copy of the apology. A defence lawyer said they would not comment on the matter as well.
— with files from Global News’ Simon Little.