Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Boy wakes from coma

Attacker in classroom scissors stabbing will not face charges.

Pacific Christian School. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Pacific Christian School. Photo / Sarah Ivey

An 11-year-old stabbed in the head with a pair of classroom scissors has woken from a coma - and his survival means the boy believed responsible will not be charged.

The boy was critically injured in the incident at Pacific Christian School in Mangere Bridge on June 24. After emergency surgery on the day of the attack, he spent more than 10 days in a coma at Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital, but has delighted his worried parents and siblings after regaining consciousness.

This week he was listed as being in a stable condition.

Under laws that apply to children, the boy's survival means his attacker cannot face charges.

An uncle of the badly hurt boy this week said he did not know the long-term prognosis for the nephew he described as someone who "loved life".

"He's awake. He tried to recognise mum and dad, his memory is coming back.

They're still in the waiting thing. He recognised [his parents] but I think he's trying to comprehend what happened to him.

"They're hoping for the best. Us Tongans, we believe in miracles."

The injured boy's parents, who prayed at his bedside while he was in a coma, told family the child had not said much after he regained consciousness.

"They were just happy that he woke up. He's a lovely boy," said the uncle.

He says the parents have already forgiven the other boy.

Counties Manukau police spokeswoman Katherine Manaton said the boy believed responsible could be charged only with manslaughter or murder because of his age. Now that the victim has survived "there will be no charges because there's nothing we can charge him with".

According to the Ministry of Justice, under the 1961 Crimes Act the age of criminal responsibility in New Zealand is 10. But those aged 10 or 11 can be charged only with murder or manslaughter. Twelve- and 13-year-olds can face a wider range of offences, but only if their offending "has become particularly serious or persistent".

The boy alleged to have wielded the scissors remains in Child, Youth and Family care and specialist interviewers from the government agency have spoken to all the children who witnessed the stabbing, Manaton said.

The boy had not been interviewed.

- Herald on Sunday

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