A teenager who took part in a gang attack on a man who was stabbed 20 times and pushed into the Royal Canal in Dublin will spend the next few weeks in custody while a judge decides his fate.
Remanding Michael Daly (18) in custody today, Judge Martin Nolan told him: “Absorb what you learn in there and decide whether that's your future or not”.
Daly, with an address in Knockmore Grove, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of assault causing harm to Jack Serole at the Royal Canal in Dublin 7 on May 18, 2015. He will be sentenced on April 25.
Daly is one of three teenagers charged over the unprovoked attack and the last to be sentenced. His co-accuseds, who can't be named as they are still juveniles, were detained for 18 months and three-and-a-half years respectively for their roles in the attack.
Garda Elaine O'Malley told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that Mr Serole, who is originally from Botswana, was walking home from the pub along the canal in the early hours of the morning when he was set upon by a group of four youths.
The boys asked him for his phone and wallet before punching Mr Serole and stabbing him repeatedly. They then pushed him into the canal.
Mr Serole couldn't swim, the court heard. “He could feel himself drowning,” Ms Murphy said. “But he kicked and managed to get out of the canal.” He then walked home to his partner who immediately rang for an ambulance.
Paramedics found Mr Serole had 14 stab wounds on his back, four on his arms and two on his legs. The wounds were up to one centimetre deep. He was suffering from hypothermia and had to be rushed to hospital for treatment. He also suffered broken front teeth in the incident.
In a victim impact statement handed up to court, Mr Serole said he now suffered from anxiety when he saw groups of young men and still experienced pains in his body.
Gardaí examined CCTV footage and managed to identify three of the four assailants.
When Daly was arrested, he confessed to taking part in the attack, but denied using a screwdriver that was found at the scene. Another boy admitted to using a knife during the attack. Daly said he hit and kicked Mr Serole, but denied pushing him into the canal. He was 16 at the time of the attack.
When asked why he assaulted Mr Serole, he said, “I don't know.” Daly was seen on CCTV footage helping Mr Serole out of the water shortly after the attack.
Daly has four previous convictions including for assault, trespass and robbery. He has been in custody for the last two weeks since he failed to turn up to court and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
Defence barrister, Damian McKeone BL, handed up a letter of apology from his client, who he said was “extremely remorseful”.
He said Daly had a difficult upbringing and at one point ended up in a homeless shelter for teenagers. He was on drink and drugs at the time of the attack and couldn't remember much of it.
He noted that if the case had come to court earlier, Daly could have been treated like a juvenile along with his two co-accused.
Judge Nolan said Daly should spent the next three weeks in custody considering what he had done. “What you did on this night was serious,” the judge said. “Somebody could have died.”