A UK jury found that a boy who fell during a Scout outing was unlawfully killed


LONDON (AP) — A coroner referred the Scout Association to U.K. police for investigation after a jury found Thursday that a 16-year-old boy who died on a Scout trip in 2018 was unlawfully killed.

Ben Leonard suffered a serious head injury when he lost his footing on a ledge and fell about 200 feet (60 meters) during a hiking trip with a group of Scouts in Llandudno, north Wales, in August 2018.

During a two-month inquest into his death, a jury heard that no qualified first aider was present for the trip, which were against Scouts rules for expeditions.

The jury found a Scout leader on the trip and his assistant were responsible for Leonard’s death. It also found that neglect by the Scout Association contributed to the boy’s death.

Assistant coroner David Pojur referred the Scout Association and an unnamed employee to North Wales Police to investigate whether they conspired to pervert the course of justice.

An initial inquest into the teen’s death was held in February 2020, but Pojur discharged the jury at the time, saying the Scout Association had failed to provide the court with full information and “created a misleading impression.”

Lawyers for the Scout Association sought a legal ban on the reporting of the police referral, but the coroner refused the application after British media objected.

The Scout Association publicly apologized and accepted responsibility for Leonard’s death at the start of the current inquest.

But Leonard’s mother said it came too late. She also called for more oversight of the Scouts.

“Waiting so long for this verdict means we’ve lived in limbo for years,” Jackie Leonard said. “We’ve been unable to move forward.”

Lawyers for Leonard’s family said there have been 12 deaths linked to the Scouts or on Scout trips in the past 30 years in the U.K.

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