Sunday 25 March 2018

One of seven teenagers who attacked and robbed Chinese man avoids jail

The CCJ complex
The CCJ complex

Conor Gallagher

One of seven teenagers who launched a violent city centre attack on a Chinese man before robbing him has been given a three-year suspended sentence.

John O'Rourke (18) with an address in Stanhope St, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of Fen Ling Wang on Liffey Street on July 10, 2015.

Mr Wang (29) was walking home through Dublin city centre at 3am, having finished work in a restaurant, when the five males and two females set upon him. He was knocked to the ground where he received dozens of kicks, many of which were directly to the head.

After Mr Wang was knocked unconscious, the gang robbed his phone and shoes before leaving him in the middle of the street. Gardaí in the CCTV monitoring room on nearby O'Connell Street watched the assault unfold live and three of the attackers were caught close to the scene.

The group were on acid at the time of attack and gardaí had to wait six hours before they could interview them.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court previously heard that the attack was so vicious that one of the teens asked gardaí to stop playing the footage during the interview because it was upsetting him. The court had heard that all of the group were in some form of care at the time.

Garda Paul Fay previously told the court that he and colleagues observed the assault via high quality live CCTV cameras. Footage of the attack from several different angles was played to the court.

As Mr Wang walked on Liffey Street a girl from the group went up and hugged him. Several males then approached and asked for his phone and wallet. They then began hitting Mr Wang.

They pulled his shirt over his head so he couldn't see before kicking him repeatedly while he was on the ground. One male can be seen delivering a final blow which appears to knock Mr Wang unconscious.

Another male then rifled through the victim's pockets and stole his runners. One of them threw a sausage he was eating at the man before they left the scene.

In a victim impact statement Mr Wang said he didn't realise the extent of his injuries until he looked in the mirror in hospital. He had headaches and painful joints afterwards and had to take time off work while the swelling to his face went down.

Mr Wang added in his report he had incurred significant medical expenses and loss of income as a result of the assault.

Sentencing O'Rourke today, Judge Melanie Greally said it was “an extremely ugly incident”.

She said it was fortunate Mr Wang didn't sustain “enduring injuries”.

“Obviously this had a deeply disturbing effect on him,” she said.

She noted O'Rourke had an extremely difficult childhood and had taken “very positive steps” in terms of his living accommodation, his relationships and in his use of alcohol and drugs.

She said O'Rourke had co-operated fully with probation services, which recommended a non-custodial sentence.

She sentenced him to three years' imprisonment but suspended it entirely on several conditions including that he be of good behaviour, remain under Probation Supervision and undertake a number of drug, alcohol and anger awareness programmes.

Some of the group have already been dealt with in other courts. One male got a ten month sentence while a girl who was 14 at the time received five months. Another received a suspended two-and-a-half year sentence.

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