'Pompey swagger' legal argument sees magistrates end trial against teenager accused of chasing Southsea group with machete
A TRIAL of a teenager accused of charging towards a group of men with a machete collapsed after magistrates agreed video footage could not identify a man with a ‘Pompey swagger’.
Bornwell Hakaperi, 18, was on trial at Portsmouth Youth Court accused of affray and possessing a knife in Elm Grove on July 18.
Prosecutor Lucy Paddick told the court a group walking along the street around 10.30pm were put at ‘risk of serious physical harm’ following the incident when they were chased by someone wielding a 12in machete outside Umami Street Food.
Dashcam footage from a passing vehicle that captured the incident was handed over to police.
A passenger in the car said he saw a man ‘drop his bike and run towards the group’ with him adding: ‘I saw what I believed was a knife.’
Mr Hakaperi, of Bramshott Road, was later found by police in nearby gardens. No weapon was recovered but his bike was seized.
The footage was subsequently reviewed by police with officers recognising various people in the one-minute video clip.
Two police officers claimed the man with the weapon in the video was Mr Hakaperi.
Magistrates however today stopped the trial halfway through agreeing with a defence application that the ‘video footage was not high enough quality’.
At the trial today defence solicitor Tim Sparkes asked one of the officers if he was ‘mistaken’ with his identification of the teenager, then 17 at the time of the incident.
Addressing the officer, Mr Sparkes said: ‘You’ve got a variation of the Pompey swagger, a medium build, (someone) wearing a tracksuit – that is almost a uniform for youths in the city - and black hair like all black people have.
‘It’s a pretty generic description.’
Giving evidence to the hearing, PC Matthew Blewden said he ‘wouldn’t make a statement’ if he wasn’t sure.
He said the footage showed a ‘male who was chasing the group (and) produced a large knife’.
And he said he was sure that this man who ‘produced a large sword or knife from his waistband’ was Mr Hakaperi.
On the blade, PC Blewden said: ‘You could see it glinting which is what made me believe it was metal.
‘I believed it to be at least a foot long.’
PC Justin Fung, giving evidence at the trial, admitted it was ‘dark at the time’ but said the area was ‘well lit with street lighting and from restaurants and vehicles’.
‘He was carrying a satchel and had a very large knife in his hand that was 12in in length and a light metal colour,’ PC Fung said.
She said she was certain the person was Mr Hakaperi.
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But magistrates sided with Mr Sparkes, who asked them to dismiss the case halfway through.
Dismissing the charges against Mr Hakaperi, the chair of the bench said: ‘The video footage was not high enough quality for us to be sure (of identification).
‘There is no case to answer.’
Police previously announced Mr Hakaperi had been charged following an investigation into the stabbing of a 15-year-old boy on Southsea Common.