Cockburn Gateway ‘girl gang’ member speaks out after court date
At least three girls, aged between 13 and 15, were charged in April after shocking CCTV footage showed some of the group entering a medical centre and allegedly bashing a receptionist, while others are alleged to have broken the nose of a staff member at a nearby McDonalds.
A number of children were released to their parents without charge.
Those charged are under strict protective bail conditions and are unable to approach within 50 metres of Cockburn Gateway Shopping Centre in Success.
They are also on curfews which forbid them from leaving their house between 7pm and 7am without their parents or a designated responsible adult.
Outside Fremantle Children’s Court last week, a member of the accused group claimed the violence started when a man inside McDonalds ‘king hit’ one of her friends who was mouthing off inside the restaurant.
The girl claimed when her male friends realised the altercation had occurred, the encounter turned into a “big brawl”, with up to 15 people becoming involved, and the alleged king hit attacker being chased through the shopping centre.
“Most people got away before police came,” she said.
“People shouldn’t say what they think if they weren’t there.
“The media made it sound bad, like it was all our fault.”
Police claimed the one-hour incident, which started outside the shopping centre, moved to McDonald’s where a group of mostly juveniles allegedly attempted to steal property from the store and several customers.
They are then alleged to have made their way to other nearby businesses and assault people.
There are at least eight victims, the youngest aged 12.
After the violence, local shop owners and community members raised concerns teenagers had been causing ongoing problems at the shopping centre.
The charged girl said while the group used to go to the shopping precinct, they had never caused trouble in the area before, and no longer went there.
She had protective bail conditions that prohibit her from speaking to three alleged assault victims, but says she did not attend the medical centre.
Another of the trio is also facing charges of stealing alcohol Liquorland Beeliar and Vale Bar and Brasserie the day before the brawl from.
While another girl pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour for swearing and abusing members of the public and having an argument with a shop owner, and stealing alcohol from Liquorland in Beeliar on March 4, around one month prior to the brawl.
It is not clear is she was involved in the April 1 incident.
The presiding Magistrate referred her to a juvenile justice team and commented that it “worried” her the 14-year-old was stealing alcohol.
A 15-year-old boy also appeared in court over alleged offences that occurred at the shopping centre, however it is not clear on what date.
He has been banned from contacting his alleged co-offenders while on bail and cannot go within 50 metres of Dome Success or the nearby McDonald’s.
Most of the group had their court proceedings adjourned to a later date to make an application for their indictable charges to be heard in the Supreme or District Court.
They are yet to enter pleas.
Cockburn Gateway shopping centre management was contacted for comment.
Heather McNeill covers breaking news with a focus on crime, courts and Aboriginal affairs for WAtoday.