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Teen accused of bullying suicide victim acquitted

Mitchell Wilson, 11, had muscular dystrophy.

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Mitchell Wilson, 11, committed suicide rather than face an accused bully in court. Mitchell suffered from muscular dystrophy. (Global News/Screengrab)

Mitchell Wilson’s family said the 11-year-old boy who committed suicide rather than testify against his bully wouldn’t want the law “bent for his own benefit.”

That’s why they walked from an Oshawa, Ont., courthouse today willing to accept a judge’s ruling in a case that shocked and saddened Canadians.

Justice Mary Teresa Devlin said there wasn’t enough evidence to convict the 13-year-old boy who was accused of knocking Mitchell – who suffered from muscular dystrophy – to the sidewalk, chipping his teeth and stealing his iPhone.

“I can only imagine how difficult this case has been for Mitchell Wilson’s family,” Devlin said in court, The Toronto Star reported. “I realize that the conclusion of this trial leaves many unanswered questions, which is unfortunately unavoidable.”

Rather than face his accuser in court, Mitchell pulled a plastic bag over his head and killed himself last September.

“I believe they followed the law right to the letter, (and) I don't think Mitchell would've liked to have seen the law bent for his own benefit,” Craig Wilson said, The Canadian Press reported. “For that reason, I think we walked out respectfully with our heads held high.”

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The case made headlines earlier this year when the judge ruled Mitchell’s statements, made just before his death, could be heard in court.

However, the judge said today there were too many doubts about the attacker’s identity, and she had to acquit the accused, who cannot be named under Canadian law.

“They say eyewitness accounts or identification are unreliable,” Wilson said, according to CBC News. “I know Mitchell was 100 percent sure in his mind and I like to think that's the truth. Karma always comes around to get the ones that get away.”

Wilson said his son suffered panic attacks after the assault, and was still recovering from the death of his mother from cancer. He had just transferred school to escape bullying there, but couldn’t escape it.

Friends of the accused taunted Mitchell as he walked home from school, his father said.

However, his aunt, Cheryl Wilson, said the family didn’t want vengeance.

She does hope, though, that the two boys suspected of hurting Mitchell come forward and admit their mistakes. She’s also hoping the case draws much-needed attention to bullying.

“If someone is bullying you, if someone is harming you or breaking the law and making you feel terrible about yourself, you need to speak up, regardless of the outcome,” she said. “It’s the process not the product.”

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/120306/mitchell-wilson-bullying-suicide-victim-acquitted