Declan Cutler stabbing: Minor boy, 13, held 'not guilty' of murder in fatal attack on 16-year-old

The unnamed 13-year-old minor child, who took part in the unprovoked attack on Declan Cutler, 16, did not stab the victim but did beat him

Declan Cutler stabbing: Minor boy, 13, held 'not guilty' of murder in fatal attack on 16-year-old
Representational image (Getty images)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Due to his young age, a 13-year-old Melbourne boy who took part in the unprovoked fatal stabbing attack on 16-year-old Declan Cutler has been found not guilty of murder.

The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, faced a judge-alone trial in July after being identified as one of eight boys who attacked and killed 16-year-old Declan as he left a birthday party in Melbourne's north last year.

Declan Cutler was at a house party on day of the attack

According to testimony in court, Declan Cutler was a guest at a house party in Reservoir, in Melbourne's north, on the evening of March 12, 2022.

In the early hours of March 13, just as Declan left the Reservoir party, a stolen Mazda hatchback pulled up, separating him from his friends.

Declan was stabbed and kicked by eight boys who were armed with four knives, as reported by Daily Mail.

According to the court testimonial, "Declan was alone and unarmed when he was set upon, and he was utterly defenceless. Declan was entitled to feel safe leaving the party."

Attack on Declan was captured on CCTV

According to The Age, "The entire attack was captured on CCTV footage and lasted approximately two minutes. The footage emits not sounds, but screams of horror."

A post-mortem examination revealed that Cutler had over 100 injuries. As per recorded evidence, the then-13-year-old did not stab Cutler, but he did repeatedly kick and stomp on the 16-year-old victim while the others stabbed him.

The youngest member of the group, now 14, was charged with murder and manslaughter for his role in stomping and kicking Declan while he was being stabbed.

He faced a week-long trial in which his lawyer argued he was not guilty, citing the Doli Incapax argument that he was too young to be held criminally responsible.

13-year-old assailant found 'not guilty of murder'

On Wednesday, September 20, Justice Rita Incerti of the Victorian Supreme Court ruled that there was an a "reasonable possibility" that the boy did not realize his actions were seriously wrong in a moral sense when he committed the offence.

She added that he could not be found guilty of murder or manslaughter.

However, Declan Cutler's father, Bryan Beattie, said knife crimes need to stop and was discontent with the ruling. He said, "We're not happy with the outcome. The judge made a bad decision today. It's not fair."

Last week, the brother of the acquitted 13-year-old, a year older than the boy and on bail at the time of the killing, was sentenced to at least ten years in prison for murder.