A Melbourne teenager who bashed an autistic boy in a "pretty ugly fight" after receiving a series of "antagonising" Instagram messages, has avoided a criminal conviction.
The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was repeatedly challenged by his victim to fight, a children's court was told on Tuesday.
The teen has accepted responsibility for bashing the 14-year-old autistic boy outside Northcote High School on May 8 with two alleged co-offenders who wielded spanners.
But a magistrate concluded the matter had "context", given the teen had received a number of messages from the victim on Instagram that were "antagonising in nature".
The teen will now be placed on a "diversion program", requiring he write a letter of apology to his victim and participate in an anger management program, instead of being punished by the courts and convicted.
Since the bashing, the teen has been expelled from his school and assaulted by a member of his community.
He had been charged with affray using unlawful violence, intentionally causing injury, recklessly causing injury and two counts of unlawful assault.
The teen tried to ignore the social media messages at first but then, alongside two other boys aged 14 and 15, met up with the victim, police claimed.
One of the others pushed the victim off his bike and punched his face before he was assaulted with what appeared to be spanners, it is alleged.
The victim was taken by ambulance to hospital for a suspected head injury, cuts and bruises.
A few days later, the teen was interviewed by police, allegedly claiming he didn't want to fight "but I knew it was going to happen".
"In his immaturity, (he) did take matters into his own hands," the teen's lawyer said on Tuesday.
"It has culminated in this pretty ugly fight.
"My client didn't start this fight. He went there to talk but he knew quite quickly it wasn't going to be a talk."
The magistrate said the fact the teen was repeatedly challenged to a fight gave the matter "context".
"You lost your strength of character and I accept that may have had something to do with the fact you were 15 years old and lacked maturity," she said.
One of the teen's co-offenders failed to appear in court on Tuesday.
The 14-year-old is being charged with affray using unlawful violence, intentionally and recklessly causing injury, two counts of assault with a weapon, using a controlled weapon, and three other assault charges.