Solomone’s alleged killers freed on bail
Five teenagers have been freed back into the community just weeks after being charged with killing 15-year-old Solomone Taufeulungaki in an alleged gang attack.
The young males - two aged 13, two 14, and one 15-year-old - were granted bail in Victoria's Supreme Court on Wednesday despite fierce opposition by the prosecution.
Justice Paul Coghlan set strict bail conditions including a ban on social media use and a curfew.
He also prohibited them from interacting with each other, but two of the accused who were brothers were exempt from that rule.
The experienced judge warned the teens they must behave or would be at risk of being locked up again.
"If you don't keep the conditions, you won't remain on bail," Justice Coghlan said.
Police had initially charged the youth with affray and violent disorder offences following the brutal stabbing attack on Solomone near Brimbank shopping centre in Deer Park on June 16.
But detectives last month upgraded the charge to murder.
A total of 11 people - nine of whom were children who cannot be identified - have been charged.
The court heard witnesses observed teens holding a baseball bat, knives and a glass bottle at the scene.
Justice Coghlan said the accused teens were facing a wait as long as two years for their trial due to the coronavirus putting all jury criminal cases on hold.
Taking into consideration that and their young age, he said bail was warranted.
Originally published as Solomone's alleged killers freed on bail