Monday 19 February 2018

Boy (15) found guilty of 'racially motivated' robbery of Pakistani is let off by judge

Tom Tuite

A 15-YEAR-OLD Dublin boy found guilty of a terrifying robbery of a Pakistani man which was described by a judge as “racially motivated” has been spared a criminal record and a custodial sentence.

The teen had denied mugging the fast-food delivery man, who was punched, kicked and chased, in Dublin city's southside. In his statement to gardai, the boy said he did not have anything against foreigners but “they all look the same to me”.

The boy, who was aged 14 at the time of the incident, was found guilty by Judge John O'Connor at Dublin Children's Court following a hearing in April.

The court had heard that the boy had gone through difficult events in his life but had the support of his mother and is trying to access training and eduction. Defence solicitor Edward O'Flynn said that social services and a number of community agencies are trying to help the first-time offender who had made a good impression on the Probation Service.

The judge said it was a “horrific” offence but noted from a probation report that the boy, who was accompanied to his hearing by his mother, has shown remorse and was found to be at a low risk of re-offending.

It could have warranted a conviction, community service and possibly detention, however, Judge O'Connor said his age and remorse were significant factors and he applied the Probation Act, leaving the teenager with a clean record. “Let it be a lesson,” he told the teen.

During the trial in April, the man had said he had delivered food to a house in the city's south-side on the night of May 26 last year. Shortly afterwards two youths approached him and called him names including “bastard”. He told the juvenile court that he was in fear, one youth stood in front of him and the teenage boy was behind him.

“They said 'give us your money and phone as well', I was thinking they were going to kill me if I do not,” the delivery man had said.

They then started punching him and the boy took his money and also started kicking him.

“I tried to get away, I started running,” he said adding that the attack stopped when a taxi driver pulled over. He said he was “really terrified, I was shivering my body was shaking”. He began vomiting after he got away, he also said.

CCTV evidence showed him being chased by two people including the teenager, who insisted that he had been trying to break up a row between his friend and the delivery man. Garda Deborah O'Sullivan said the victim, who had €85 taken from him, was extremely upset, had an inflamed left ear and his legs were grazed. She interviewed the boy and he had claimed he was “just buzzing, messing” with the victim.

During the trial in April, Judge O'Connor had said he believed “it was somewhat racially motivated” and the victim was “particularly vulnerable”. The judge had also said the boy's comment to a garda afterwards that “they all look the same to me” was an “appalling statement”.

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