Restorative Justice case study
The victim, Daniel, and the perpetrators, John and Keith, a father and son, had been neighbours and friends for many years. However, the relationship disintegrated, culminating in a vicious physical assault. The offenders pleaded guilty to a section 20 assault and were sentenced to two years custody.
Daniel agreed to go to conference, held at the prison, as he wanted a genuine apology and to ensure that nothing happened to him when they were released.
At the conference John and Keith immediately apologised to him. John fully described what he did during the assault and also admitted to damaging Daniel’s car. He said in no way was Daniel to blame for what had happened. He identified Daniel as the main person affected, but also described the impact on others, including Daniel’s family members and also his own son Keith; John was very ashamed.
Keith also apologised and was clearly ashamed of his actions. He admitted to kicking Daniel, something he’d previously denied.
Daniel described the impact in a very powerful way. He talked about the assault devastating him. He had stopped working, lost all confidence and his relationship had broken down. He felt unable to leave the house but couldn’t move as his elderly mother wouldn’t be able to cope. Daniel wanted to move on with his life but was fearful of any repercussions. He was given the opportunity to ask questions and also gain some reassurances.
John and Keith acknowledged this fully. An agreement was reached which involved them apologising to Daniel, which he accepted. They agreed to speak to their family to ensure everyone was civil to Daniel’s family and also that they would discuss any future problems, rather than listening to rumours. They all said they felt much better for taking part, with Daniel saying it would help him move on.