Kent

G4S Medway unit: Rebecca Harold's case dismissed

The Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester Image copyright PA
Image caption Twelve people were arrested after a BBC Panorama undercover programme

A prison worker accused of assaulting a boy at a young offenders' centre has had the case against her dismissed.

Rebecca Harold, 24, of Grecian Street, Maidstone, had denied assaulting the 15-year-old boy at the G4S-run Medway Secure Training Centre.

She was the first person to be charged after a BBC Panorama undercover programme uncovered alleged abuse at the Rochester centre in January.

Medway Magistrates' Court heard the case against her was "so weak".

The court was told the boy did not recall anything happening and did not want to raise any concerns.

At the end of the one-day trial the case against Ms Harold, an offender manager at the centre, was dismissed.

Chair of the bench Angela Howe said: "We feel we cannot properly convict Ms Harold based on the evidence we have seen and therefore there is no case to answer."

Just 'banter'

Paul Shaw for the prosecution told the court Ms Harold had "approached a 15-year-old and seems to strike him in the face".

"The young person then seems to clutch his face for some time," he said.

Sharon Rollinson, a social worker, spoke to the boy after CCTV footage emerged apparently showing Ms Harold striking him.

He told her he was unwilling to raise a complaint, saying he "probably deserved it", she told the court.

Josh Normington, defending Ms Harold, said there was no case to answer, and the prosecution's case was "so weak" no jury could convict her.

He said the incident was "nothing more than banter" and said the silent CCTV footage relied on by prosecutors failed to show Ms Harold's hand had connected with the boy.

Following the Panorama investigation, the government announced it would take over the running of the facility through the National Offender Management Service.

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