Amy Maas

Amy Maas is a news reporter with the Herald on Sunday.

'I pray they will forgive me one day'

Teens at centre of Stephen Dudley’s death are ashamed of their actions.

Stephen Dudley's mother, Mona, with his brothers Aaron and Leith at yesterday's march. Photo / Doug Sherring
Stephen Dudley's mother, Mona, with his brothers Aaron and Leith at yesterday's march. Photo / Doug Sherring

The teenager who landed the blow that knocked Stephen Dudley to the ground feels like a coward.

He often cries with shame, and so does his younger brother.

"I feel like Stephen is dead because of me," the older boy wrote in an affidavit obtained by the Herald on Sunday. "I also feel really bad for not properly checking to make sure Stephen really was okay when we left ... I was a coward. And I still feel ashamed when I think about it."

The two brothers, aged 18 and 16, were discharged without conviction in the High Court at Auckland after admitting the assault. Their names are permanently suppressed.

The Crown Law Office is reviewing whether to appeal and a decision is expected by the end of the week.

The Dudleys are also considering a private prosecution.

Yesterday people marched in West Auckland in support of "justice for Stephen". His mother, Mona Dudley, and his siblings turned out to watch.

Organiser James Kelland, who created the Facebook page "Give Stephen his justice", told the Herald on Sunday: "The march went great. Myself and the Dudley family were overwhelmed at how many people showed up and cheered us on."

Stephen, 15, died at Auckland City Hospital after a fight at school rugby training on June 6 last year.

He had an undiagnosed heart condition that made him vulnerable to a fatal arrhythmia during traumatic stress, which is what caused his death.

When the older boy was discharged two weeks ago, Dudley's father Brent erupted in court calling him "the hand of evil".

Criminal lawyer John Munro told the Herald on Sunday the family has refused to meet the boys despite two earlier requests and a more recent one under restorative justice.

Brent Dudley said the family was still not ready to meet the boys but did not rule it out in the future.

"At this stage with the injustice that's been done, we're not ready for that," he said.

He had read the affidavits written by the boys and believed there still needed to be repercussions.

"The brutality of what occurred needs to be recognised, this wasn't just a schoolyard fight," he said.

On the day Stephen died, the older boy went to fetch his younger brother from rugby practice.

There he said he saw his brother and Stephen "surrounded by the other boys who were yelling at them to fight.

"My brother is not a fighter. He has never been in any fights and is a quiet and gentle person," he wrote in the affidavit.

The older boy then entered the melee and hit Stephen in the neck area with his right arm. Both boys punched Stephen in the torso.

"I was worried about my brother because he doesn't know how to fight and I was scared he would get hurt. I wanted to defend my little brother."

He got scared and told his brother to pick up his stuff. As they began to leave, Stephen was getting to his feet. They kept walking away.

Now, he wishes they hadn't. And he hopes that in time, the Dudleys will forgive them.

"I pray that one day that they would forgive me, even if I don't deserve it," the older boy wrote.

- Herald on Sunday

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