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Sunday 20 August 2017

Botanic Gardens ban for teen girl accused of attack after Facebook video goes viral

Alan Erwin

A 17-year-old girl accused of random drunken attacks on sunbathers in a Belfast park is banned from re-entering it, Northern Ireland's most senior judge has ordered.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan prohibited her from going into Botanic Gardens as part of conditions under which she was granted High Court bail.

Footage of the alleged attacks on unsuspecting members of the public earlier this month went viral on social media.

The teenager, who cannot be identified because of her age, is charged with four counts of common assault.

A 25-year-old man faces two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and assault on police as part of the same investigation.

Prosecution counsel Fiona O'Kane said the incident on May 4 has attracted notoriety due to number of views on Facebook during a hearing on Thursday.

She claimed: "(The girl) is clearly in a state of intoxication, going round random people enjoying the sunshine in Botanic Gardens, demanding they fight her and assaulting them."

According to Mrs O'Kane the teenager has displayed a "cavalier" attitude and posted "inflammatory" messages on social media since the incident.

"She seems to take some pleasure from the notoriety she thinks she has gained as a consequence," the barrister added.

The had been released on police bail following her arrest, but was returned to custody for flouting an alcohol ban twice in two days.

Michael Boyd, defending, told the court his client was in a state of "extreme intoxication" on the day of the alleged assaults.

"It would appear from the footage that she behaved in a manner that she accepts was totally and utterly unacceptable," Mr Boyd said.

"She has informed my solicitor that if she was given the opportunity she would like to apologise face to face with the individuals."

Granting bail based on the accused's age, Sir Declan said: "I'm going to take a chance on this young girl."

He confirmed she is barred from entering Botanic Gardens and must co-operate with Youth Justice Agency representatives.

The Lord Chief Justice warned her: "If you muck this up again you will go straight back inside and will be there until your trial."

Belfast Telegraph

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