A RECENT altercation between friends that left one man in a coma prompted police to give an anti-violence talk at their former school.
Yanchep Police officers visited Yanchep District High School last Monday to speak to Year 7 to 10 students about violent behaviour and maximum penalties that might apply.
Acting principal Ian Johnston said the assembly aimed to remind teenagers about the effects of a single hit.
“The consequences can be catastrophic, not only for that individual who ended up in hospital, but for their family and their friends,” he said.
Senior Constable Steve Colbert said older students needed to realise they would not be able to survive in the workplace or nightclubs if they reacted to problems with violence.
“Decide what sort of people you are going to be – this is setting the tone for where you are going for the rest of your life,” he said.
Snr Const. Colbert said violence and bullying were not appropriate behaviours, and should be reported to the school and police.
“We want to stop the violence altogether,” he said.
“If you are trying to deal with it yourself, it’s a big burden for a young person.
“There’s no shame in asking for help.”
Constable Mitch Hands said maximum jail terms for assaults could vary between three years for one that did not cause injuries, to 10 years for one involving serious injuries.
Const. Hands said people could face up to eight years in jail for stalking someone else, whether it was online or in person.
“The fellow the other day who got hit; it endangered his life,” he said.
“If he hadn’t got medical treatment straight away, he might not have made it.
“He is in hospital; he got hit by his mate – just a disagreement.
“If you punch someone, you could end up in jail for 10 years – is it worth it?”
When several children raised their hands to show they had been involved in fights this year, Const. Hands said they could all be charged with disorderly fighting.
“When you enter a fight and you push someone over, it might just seem like a little push but let’s say he falls over and hits his head,” Cadet Alex Collier said. “It could end up being GBH (grievous bodily harm) or he could get killed.”
Deputy principal Sharon Taylor told the students about her friend who tried to stop a fight and ended up paralysed, unable to walk, talk, feed or clean himself.
“You do not need to use your hands or your fists or your body to stop an argument,” she said.
Mr Johnston said the most serious incident since he started in April had been a fight between Year 9 boys at a nearby shopping centre before school.
He said one boy had been charged with assault causing bodily harm as a result.
The school invited police to give the talk after a former student (24) had been charged over an assault on another man (18) in Alkimos on June 5.
Police allege the victim, also a former student, was in the front passenger seat of a car travelling south on Marmion Avenue about 9.30pm, and the older man was a backseat passenger.
“The victim activated the handbrake, which resulted in the female driver safely stopping the vehicle on the side of the road,” police spokeswoman Ros Weatherall said.
“The victim and the offender exited the vehicle and became involved in an altercation. The victim was knocked to the ground.”
An ambulance took the man to hospital, where he has since woken from a coma.
The man charged with grievous bodily harm is due to appear in Perth Magistrates Court on June 29.