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Drowned boy’s mother loses legal bid to force prosecution

THE mother of a 13-year-old boy who died after allegedly being pushed into a river has lost her legal fight against the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decision not to prosecute the suspected culprit. 

Christopher Kapessa was reportedly pushed into the River Cynon near Fernhill, Rhondda Cynon Taff, by a boy aged 14 in July 2019. 

Although police found evidence that he had been pushed, the CPS claimed that it was not in the public interest to prosecute the accused teenager, who is now 17.

Christopher’s mother Alina Joseph sought to challenge the CPS decision, claiming her son had been a victim of a racially motivated attack. 

At a judicial review hearing earlier this month, the family’s barrister, Michael Mansfield QC, said the family had been relatively new to the area and were black people living in a predominantly white community. 

He had argued that the CPS decision not to prosecute was unlawful. 

But Lord Justice Popplewell and Mr Justice Dove dismissed the application yesterday, ruling that factors including the age of the suspect, the “lack of premeditation” and the “detrimental effect on the suspect’s future prospects” outweighed those in favour of prosecution. 

The judge also said that there was no evidence to support the family’s claim that the incident had been a racially motivated hate crime. 

In a statement, Ms Joseph described the decision as confirmation that the criminal justice system “values the welfare of the perpetrator over the life of Christopher and my family.”

Suresh Grover, co-ordinator of the justice campaign for Christopher, said that the ruling was a “cruel blow” to the family. 

TUC Wales general secretary Shavanah Taj said that she was “extremely disappointed” and added: “Under the eyes of the law, we are supposed to be seen as equal. Sadly, today's outcome indicates otherwise.”

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