Sunday 25 February 2018

Black paint thrown by boy (15) on Luas covered passengers and decommissioned tram, court hears

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Sonya McLean

A 15-year-old boy faces detention for throwing black paint at another teenager on a crowded Luas, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

The teenager was captured on CCTV attacking the victim. This victim told gardaí that the accused and a group of other local youths had launched a vicious attack on him a month earlier.

Garda Kieran Kilcoyne said that the boy had one previous conviction at the time of the assaults last year but has since racked up a further 33, including violent disorder, robbery, dangerous driving and stealing cars.

He said the teenager was also not abiding by any bail conditions, including a curfew. He is now serving a sentence in a detention centre and is due for release next October.

Gda Kilcoyne said other passengers were also covered in paint during the incident, including an elderly woman whose new coat, which cost her €140, was completely destroyed.

A woman was left with paint on her face and on the clothes of her two children. The tram was immediately decommissioned and it cost €884 to clean the carriage.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting the then 16-year-old boy and criminal damage on January 23 and February 28, 2015.

Judge Melanie Greally imposed three years detention but deferred the imposition of the sentence itself until November 25, next.

She said it was her intention to allow the teenager out on bail on his immediate release from the detention centre. She addressed the boy and told him she was giving him a chance to “prove that you intend to change your ways” having considered various positive reports on his progress.

“He is either going to be released and revert back or else he will show that he is making real efforts to reform,” Judge Greally said.

She said she would review his behaviour in the weeks following his release. “If the indicators are positive I will suspend the sentence....but if Gda Kilcoyne has to bring this back to me you will take away those options and I will be sending you back to the detention centre,” the judge continued.

She described the assaults as “violent and vicious” and said his behaviour had caused disruption to the Luas service. She accepted he made admissions later and co-operated with the garda investigation.

Judge Greally said it appeared from reports from both the Probation Service and Tusla that the teenager “might by growing up and realising the effect you have on other people”. She said if he didn't change his behaviour he would find him himself “living a life behind bars, deprived of your freedom”.

Gda Kilcoyne asked the court to set strict bail conditions including a curfew and an order that the teenager not associate with a number of named youths in the Tallaght area. Judge Greally agreed to set the conditions as proposed by the garda.

Gda Kilcoyne agreed with Sarah-Jane O'Callaghan BL, defending, that her client later admitted that he had hit the victim three times in the earlier assault.

He accepted that he was getting into “quite a bit of trouble in Tallaght” but that his mother was co-operating with the gardaí and trying to do what she could for her son.

Ms O'Callaghan said her client had “renewed insight into his offending behaviour since his detention” and a tutor there described him as “likeable young man”.

Gda Kilcoyne told Marie Torrens BL, prosecuting that the 16-year-old victim was walking through a local park in Tallaght when he was set upon in an unprovoked assault.

The victim fell to the ground after he was hit in the head and was kicked eight times in the head. One of the youths also used a blade during the attack leaving the boy with stab wounds on his arms and hands.

The accused was identified by the victim who knew him through a friend.

The following month the same victim was on the Luas when the teenager threw paint at him as he was getting off at a stop. CCTV footage of the incident was played to the court.

Gda Kilcoyne said the boy was identified quickly and arrested early the following morning.

He initially denied the earlier assault but accepted it was him on the footage. He claimed he had been given the can of paint by one of his friends. The victim later declined to make a victim impact statement.

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