A youth was acquitted of assaulting two men at a Marlpool park last year alongside fellow bandana wearing gang members.
But the 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to a count of threatening behaviour and is due to be sentenced alongside two other gang members on May 23.
Although the youth, who shall be referred to as Boy A, admitted being part of the group that set upon a 20 and a 21-year-old at a recreation ground off Ilkeston Road on May 14 last year – he denied landing any blows on the men, who were left badly bruised and cut as a result of the unprovoked attack.
None of the five witnesses called to his trial at Derby Crown Court last week could say whether Boy A threw any punches or kicks at the men - who had been playing football moments before.
Instead Sarah Allen, prosecuting, asked to add a charge of threatening behaviour to the indictment - which the defendant pleaded guilty to.
Judge John Burgess directed the jury to issue not guilty verdicts to the two counts of assault Boy A was on trial for.
He said to the jury: “The case as it is now is rather different to how it was originally put to you by Miss Allen.
“The first two witnesses, the victims, could not see who was doing the punching or kicking.”
He went on to say that the final witness, a girl, described Boy A as being ‘mouthy and lippy’. But he said neither of the remaining witnesses “could identify him as causing harm.”
Boy A will be sentenced alongside another youth and Nathan Parker, 18, of Riblesdale Court, Chilwell, who both pleaded guilty to assaulting the men. Parker is said to have thrown the initial punch which lead to the 20 and a 21-year-old being mobbed by the gang. The two men were kicked and stamped on as they tried to escape.