Wednesday 25 April 2018

Jail for teen who stalked and harassed man for 16 months over chit-chat with his mother

Tom Tuite

A TEENAGE stalker, who viciously attacked a man and harassed him for more than a year, has been detained for three months.

Dublin Children's Court heard that the 16-month campaign of harassment began because the man had once got into a brief conversation with the youth's mother.

Michael O'Brien, aged 18, from Brackenwood Drive, Balbriggan, Dublin, had been repeatedly warned by a judge earlier that he was not to have any more contact with his victim.

However Judge John O'Connor heard that in recent days the youth had continued to approach the man to apologise. However, his approaches to say sorry also left the man in fear for his personal safety.

The youth had been a juvenile at the time of the offences but has since reached adulthood. He had pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to the man, who is in his thirties, on August 28 and July 15, 2012.

He also admitted an additional connected charge for harassing the same man at a number of locations in north Dublin between April 4, 2011 until August 28 last year.

Judge O'Connor had also been furnished with a pre-sentence report on the youth, who had been waiting for a place on an educational course. He also ordered that the teenager was to remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for the next 12 months.

Garda Louise Gernon has told the court that the man had been socialising in a pub in north Dublin when he got into a conversation with the boy's mother.

She described their interaction as “chit chat” and the court heard that they left the pub at the same time when the teen approached and verbally abused the man which was followed by “a long series of incidents”.

“From that day on there was on-going harassment and intimidation, the man felt afraid and feared for his life,” Gda Gernon had said.

The garda has given the court a list of seven dates spanning a period of more than a year during which time the man was harassed and felt threatened by him, “as a result of what he describes as on-going intimidation”. He continued to fear for his safety and the court heard that on a date in July 2012, the youth attacked him at a fast food restaurant.

The youth punched and kicked him to his head and face. He then got a stool and used it to strike the man across his head. The court heard that the victim fled out the back door of the premises in order to get away safely.

About a month-and-a-half later, the same man had just walked out of his home when he was approached by the teenager who subjected him to another “unprovoked serious assault”.

The court has heard that the teenager has three prior criminal convictions, two for public order offences and one for burglary, for which he had been sentenced to probation in January last year.

Irish Independent

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