The boys were first met by a Sacro worker who explained to them that the service was independent, confidential and voluntary and that Sacro had received a referral from Police Scotland giving details of the charges. They were then given space to explain in their own words exactly what had happened.
The four boys explained that they had gained access to a development site and on arrival had vandalised a fire engine and a caravan. All the accused had taken part in the vandalism and had used spray paint on the fire engine and had broken the windows in both the fire engine and the caravan by throwing stones at them. Additionally, they had broken into the caravan causing extensive damage and stealing a number of CDs and DVDs which were then scattered around the site.
The boys showed remorse and expressed genuine regret about what they had done. Two of them were willing and motivated to participate in a Restorative Justice Conference with the Person Harmed to give an explanation for their choices and behaviour and to make a full apology. Another of the boys had mild learning difficulties. He willingly entered into a shuttle dialogue and wrote a letter of apology. It was confirmed that the fourth boy had already apologised. The approximate cost of the vandalism was £3,000.
The Person Harmed details were obtained and a Sacro worker met with them to explain the restorative justice process and that two of the boys wanted to participate and give their apologies in person. It was also confirmed that the Person Harmed had received apologies from the other two boys; one of them in writing. The Person Harmed was then given details of the positive programme of work that had been completed by all four boys and reported that their commitment to engage with Sacro had been excellent.
The Person Harmed explained that he was in the process of building a new home on the site where the fire engine and caravan were kept. Because of the damage caused to the caravan he was no longer able to use them. The Person Harmed also explained that the fire engine had been used to offer rides for children at local galas to raise money for charity. It was also stated that the incident had caused great personal distress and a considerable financial setback. Despite this, the Person harmed was willing to participate in the Restorative Justice process and welcomed the opportunity to meet with all concerned. The Person Harmed also praised the parents of one of the boys and thanked them for approaching him voluntarily and giving the names and addresses of all the Persons Responsible. This enabled the Person Harmed to contact the police and pass on all relevant details so that they could investigate fully.
The Restorative Justice Conference took place at a neutral venue. The Person Harmed was supported by his partner. The two boys who were willing to participate were both accompanied and supported by their mothers. The domestic arrangements were fully explained, and all parties introduced themselves. The Sacro worker then explained the ground rules of the meeting and gave an outline of how it should be conducted. The boys explained their actions and behaviour on the day of the offence and why they had been involved. At this point the Person Harmed became emotional and informed the boys of the significant impact the offence had had on him both financial and more importantly emotionally. The emotional impact was so significant that he had become extremely depressed and had been suffering from anxiety.
The boys explained what work they had completed with Sacro and that they now possessed a greater understanding and awareness of the consequences of their behaviour.
The boys explained what work they had completed with Sacro and that they now possessed a greater understanding and awareness of the consequences of their behaviour. They both made genuine apologies to the Person Harmed and reassured him that this had been a “one off” and that it would never happen again.
The meeting had been emotional for all parties and during the Persons Harmed description of the serious impact on him, both parents and the Persons Responsible had become visibly tearful. The Person Harmed accepted the apologies and told them that they had been “very brave” in accepting responsibility for their behaviour and for attending the Restorative Justice Conference.
Following the Restorative Justice Conference, the Person Harmed was extremely positive about the experience and the process and felt that it had allowed him to have his ‘say’ and to “get some closure”. They also said they believed that the remorse shown by the Persons Responsible had been genuine in all cases.