A Catholic teenager was tied to a wooden cross and hung from a wall in a ‘sustained course of victimisation and bullying’ by work colleagues, a court heard yesterday.
Andrew Addison, 30, Joseph Rose, 21, Christopher Jackson, 22, and Alex Puchir, 37, allegedly tormented him at their firm in Selby, North Yorkshire – before some dismissed it as ‘banter’.
The boy apprentice, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also had religious and phallic symbols drawn on his face and body with permanent marker, the court was told.
Four men have gone on trial at York Crown Court accused of religiously aggravated assault against the teenager, who was aged between 17 and 18 at the time.
Austin Newman, opening the case for the prosecution, told the jury of five men and seven women the boy obtained an apprenticeship at the shopfitting company in July 2014.
During his apprenticeship, he worked on jobs in London, the South East and Yorkshire with the four defendants, including company manager Addison.
Mr Newman said: ‘These defendants are charged variously on counts of religiously aggravated assault by beating and putting a person in fear of violence by harassment.
‘These counts are designed to cover what the prosecution contends was a sustained course of victimisation and bullying of a young man in the work place.’
He added: ‘He was subjected to acts of bullying, which the Crown say went beyond anything that could reasonably be described as banter or high jinks in the workplace.’Mr Newman said the boy was a practising Roman Catholic and told the jury the defendants were motivated by hostility based on his religious observance. Addison, Jackson, and Puchir are accused of tying the boy to a wooden cross and hanging him from a wall ‘in a way which resembled a crucifixion’, Mr Newman said. The prosecutor said the three men ‘tied’ the teenager on to a cross, which had been fashioned from two lengths of wood and attached to a piece of plasterboard, with duct tape before leaving him suspended about a metre above the ground for around ten minutes.
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