Monday 26 September 2016

Man jailed for stabbing teen (15) during drug debt row

Sonya McLean

Published 15/07/2015 | 16:41

Gardai (Stock image)
Gardai (Stock image)

A Dublin man who stabbed a 15-year-old in Kildare leaving him with life threatening injuries because the teenager had failed to pay a drug debt has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

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Aaron Byrne (22) had been attempting to get the remaining €250 debt, for an amount of cannabis, and had previously called at the victim's home demanding the cash.

The day before the stabbing he met with the boy at a service station where €100 was handed over.

The following day he arranged, through the victim's friend, to meet with the teenager at a housing estate in Naas, County Kildare, before a row broke out between the two.

Byrne took out a knife and stabbed the teenager under the rib cage, penetrating his chest wall and left lung.

Detective Garda Liam Dolan told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting that a medical report concluded that the teenager had a major bleed and required an immediate life saving operation to repair his chest wall and left lower lung.

It was confirmed that up to nearly two litres of blood and blood clots were removed from his chest.

He was discharged from hospital five days later and an updated report stated his wounds had healed well and he had returned to school and sporting activities a few weeks after the stabbing.

Byrne of Kilclare Crescent, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the teenager in Naas on April 12, 2014.

Judge Martin Nolan suspended the final three years of the eight year term after accepting that Byrne is remorseful and appears “well capable of being reformed”. He must be under the supervision of the Probation Service for 18 months following his release.

He said Byrne was intent on collecting the money for the cannabis he sold the teenager. He said the fact that the assault initially arose out of criminal activity was an aggravating factor in the case.

“He totally over-reacted. He had a knife and stabbed him once. It must have been a forceful stab as it penetrated the chest wall and the lung,” Judge Nolan said.

He added that the teenager could have died had it not been for the prompt medical attention he received but acknowledged that he has since made a full recovery.

A victim impact report stated that the teenager's medical bills came to €370. He said he felt that people looked at him differently after the attack and felt like a social outcast.

He changed schools and found it difficult to sleep. His mother worried about him when he was out at night.

Det Gda Dolan told Ms Murphy that coincidentally Byrne's father was in Tallaght hospital the same time as the victim and the teenager's mother recognised the accused as the man who had called to her house demanding money.

Byrne was arrested and made no admissions, telling officers he wasn't in the area at the time. The knife was never recovered but blood taken from the scene was analysed and found to match that of Byrne.

A trial date was fixed but Byrne pleaded guilty in advance of the hearing date. He has 10 previous convictions for minor offences.

Det Gda Dolan agreed with Damien Colgan SC, defending, that the victim later admitted to officers that he had hit and punched Byrne during his altercation with him.

Mr Colgan told Judge Nolan that his client had been working for a local Aldi store before his arrest but has not worked since.

He handed in a report from a community liaison officer which outlined Byrne's work in a local project turning waste ground into community gardens, a playground and allotments.

Byrne was described as “one of the most hardest working volunteers” the officer has ever worked with. He added that he appears remorseful for his crime.

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