Four found guilty of manslaughter

After considering the evidence from CCTV footage, police interviews and calls made by each of the accused revealing details of the night, Judge Denis Reynolds established the four had chased Mr Litchfield, causing him to fall and receive fatal head injuries.

‘I find beyond reasonable doubt that (each of the four) unlawfully killed Mr Litchfield,’ he said.

Each of the accused had pleaded not guilty to murder.

The court heard that a member of the group had earlier tried to pick-pocket Mr Litchfield as he was walking along Pinjarra Road.

After repeatedly telling the boys to leave him alone, one boy finally touched his back pocket in an attempt to grab Mr Litchfield’s phone.

Mr Litchfield reacted by slapping him to the back of the head.

The boy punched Mr Litchfield and an assault ensued, where Mr Litchfield was knocked unconscious. After regaining consciousness, he ran on to the road in front of oncoming traffic in a bid to get away or get help.

Mr Litchfield returned to the side of the road and was chased until he fell over the ledge at Taubman’s Paints on Pinjarra Road, hitting his head on the bitumen.

The four boys fabricated the events of that night.

They said they had tried to stop Mr Litchfield falling over the ledge by grabbing his shirt and also tried to stop Mr Litchfield from being run over when he ran on to the road.

Mr Reynolds rejected the statements as untrue.

‘I positively reject that explanation,’ he said.

‘It is blatant nonsense and a complete fabrication.’

Mr Reynolds accepted the State’s case against the four, determining Mr Litchfield’s death was caused ‘by means of an act done in the prosecution of an unlawful purpose, which act was of such a nature as to endanger life’.

The ‘act done’ was the chasing of the deceased after he had been assaulted and/or detained by members of the accused group.

The fifth boy was found not guilty as it was determined he did not chase Mr Litchfield.

The boys will be sentenced on April 24.