Case Study: Attempted Robbery and Assault
James’ offence was attempted robbery. The victim in this case was known to James, as they had previously attended the same school. James approached the victim from behind and demanded that he hand over his mobile phone. When he refused, James threatened to stab him and snap his neck. James then kicked the victim to the ground and stamped on his head several times. James received a custodial sentence.
The offence was carried out in order to feed James’s drug habit. Since being released from custody James has reduced his drug use. James wanted to take responsibility for his behaviour, and apologise in writing to the victim for the hurt and upset that he had caused.
Bruce was making his way home having spent the evening with a friend. It was during this time that he was approached by James. When I met Bruce, assessed his suitability and gave him information about RJ, Bruce was keen to take part in an indirect RJ process.
I met James on a number of occasions to reflect on the offence and to raise his victim awareness. I then felt that it was an appropriate time to introduce the victim’s comments. James said he was ‘taken aback’ to hear the offence from the victim’s perspective. He said ‘I feel like walking out of the room’ because it ‘sickens me to think that I could do something so horrible’.
James learned how the offence had affected Bruce’s confidence levels, and of the nervousness he now experiences when he sees ‘young men in hoodies’. James replied to these comments by saying that he ‘never intended for Bruce to feel this way’.
James was affected by Bruce’s comments and was keen to meet with him to apologise face-to-face. It was decided following our risk assessment, that a letter of explanation would be the most suitable way for James to express his thoughts and feelings.
Bruce and his family were happy to receive James’ letter, and suggested that it had finally bought ‘closure to what had been a terrible time’. Bruce was pleased to hear that James was trying his best to ‘do the right thing not the wrong thing’, and was reassured by his comments. Bruce was motivated to respond back to James. He requested for me to pass on the following verbal comments:
‘I am happy to hear that you have reformed, and that you’ve turned your life around. I do appreciate that you have taken the time to write this letter, and wish you the best of luck for the future. Don’t allow people to drag you into the space that you were previously. Be your own man, and do the right thing’.