THE teenager convicted of inciting the king hit that killed Jamie Purdon at the 2009 Maitland Show has been acquitted by the Court of Criminal Appeal and released from juvenile detention.
The teenager, who was 15 at the time Mr Purdon, 21, was killed, will face a re-trial after the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled there was a miscarriage of justice at the juvenile’s trial in Newcastle District Court last year.
The teenager was found guilty by a jury of manslaughter after he was accused of taking part in a joint criminal enterprise to attack Mr Purdon and his friends at the show on February 20, 2009.
A 17-year-old, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was later jailed, ran up to Mr Purdon, 20, and punched him in the face causing Mr Purdon to fall backwards and hit his head.
The 17-year-old received a discount on his sentence for agreeing to testify against the 15-year-old.
The 15-year-old was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years and six months to be served in a juvenile detention centre.
However, he was released by order of the Court of Criminal Appeal in February after serving 10 months.
Justice Robert MacFarlan recently ruled there was a miscarriage of justice because the jury was not directed properly and because the Crown inadvertently failed to provide the teenager’s lawyers with reports containing the 17-year-old’s version of events.
Justice MacFarlan also identified other errors at the trial such as allowing one of the 15-year-old’s classmates to testify that the 15-year-old had said ‘‘Friday night is fight night’’ sometime during the week leading up to the show.
Justice MacFarlan said that statement was not admissible because it did not prove that the teenager had a propensity for violence and it was not ‘‘sufficiently proximate to the formation of the alleged criminal enterprise to reveal anything relevant about the appellant’s state of mind’’.