A 13-year-old schoolboy appeared before Ballymena Magistrates Court on Wednesday charged in connection with the stabbing of a fellow pupil at Larne Grammar School.
The defendant, who cannot be named because of his age, is accused of unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous bodily harm to a boy with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.
The defendant is also charged with possessing an offensive weapon – a knife – with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.
The charges relate to January 7 this year when there was an incident at Larne Grammar School.
The defendant, who was wearing a shirt and tie was sitting beside his father in court.
The boy told the court: “I understand the charges”.
A prosecution lawyer said the case file was at a “very early stage”.
A detective constable said he was aware of the facts and circumstances of the case and believed he could connect the defendant to the charges.
The police officer said they were still collating statements and added: “As you can imagine a lot of the children are very upset”.
The officer said medical evidence in the case is still awaited.
A defence lawyer said psychologist and medical reports were required regarding the defendant.
The lawyer said the school had held a “disciplinary meeting” and the defendant, who had not been in classes since the incident, was to be suspended for a “week”.
The lawyer said she would write to the Education Authority to get clarity on the situation.
She said if the school was content to have the defendant back he should be allowed to attend “if he is fit to go back”.
The lawyer said the boy’s wish was to return to his education “in the long term”.
The police officer said he would have “concerns” as the victim also attends the school.
No details were given in court about the specifics of the alleged incident.
The defendant was given his own bail of £25 along with a £500 surety from his father.
As part of bail the defendant is not to enter the grounds of Larne Grammar School; he is not to contact witnesses or the complainant and has to engage with his GP.
The case was adjourned to Ballymena Youth Court on a date to be fixed.
At the time of the January 7 incident press reports said an ambulance was called to the school and a boy – referred to as a Year 10 pupil – was taken to hospital where he was said to be in a stable condition on that date.
The school contacted parents and guardians through a text message to inform them that there had been an incident.
The message said the incident was over and school would continue as normal.
In a later statement, Larne Grammar School’s principal Jonathan Wylie said: “The safety and wellbeing of our pupils is always our primary concern and the authorities, including the PSNI, were contacted immediately.
“Parents have also been contacted and we are working with the Education Authority to ensure that pastoral support is available for those who require it.
“This is the first time that an incident of this nature has occurred in school and the thoughts of the entire school community are with the injured pupil and his family.”