Stephen Dudley appeal bid fails

KELLY DENNETT
Last updated 12:47 27/08/2014
Dudley
MICHAEL BRADLEY/Fairfax NZ

HURT: Mona and Brent Dudley, parents of Stephen Dudley, are devastated a request for an appeal has been rejected.

Stephen Dudley
SUPPLIED
STEPHEN DUDLEY: Died after being punched at rugby training.

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No appeal will be able to be made by the Dudley family, whose son, Stephen, died after a schoolyard fight last year.

The deputy solicitor-general today announced there would be "no jurisdiction to appeal or review the judge's decision" that let two teenagers who had assaulted Stephen be discharged without conviction.

Stephen, 15, died after an assault in the Auckland suburb of Kelston after a rugby training session in July last year.

The elder of the two assailants, both of whom have permanent name suppression, appeared in the High Court in Auckland for sentencing on August 7.

He was intially charged with manslaughter. This was downgraded to a charge of assault with intent to injure after it was discovered Stephen had had an undiagnosed heart condition.

The incident was accordingly treated as a low-level "schoolyard fight" and Chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann said that therefore Stephen's death couldn't be taken into account in the sentencing.

Dudley's father, Brent, erupted in court at the time saying "the law is an ass" and that the boys were "getting away with murder".

A request for an appeal has today been rejected.

The Office of Solicitor-General said it had received a request from the office of the Auckland Crown solicitor on August 8 to consider a Crown appeal against the discharge without conviction entered for the elder of the two boys, now aged 18.

"The deputy solicitor-general has carefully considered the facts and the relevant legislative provisions and has determined that in this particular case there is no jurisdiction to appeal or review the judge's decision."

The Dudley family said they were "utterly devastated" and that they were "regrouping" to consider their options.

"The news came as another shocking blow like the ones that killed our son," the family said in a statement.

"[We] wish to thank all the members of the New Zealand public for your unwavering support. We will continue to strive for justice for Stephen." 

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