Tuesday 16 July 2019

Profile: Boy B was the only child in Oberstown to ever ask for Lego

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

AFTER he was charged with murder, Boy B spent five weeks in custody in Oberstown Detention Centre before he was granted bail by the High Court.

He was the only child in Oberstown to ever ask for Lego, Dr Colm Humphries claimed.

A clinical psychologist, Dr Humphries was asked to assess Boy B by the boy’s legal team. Dr Humphries said Boy B knew he could end up in jail and that terrified him, but he had the “belief the story will get him through”.

Boy B loved books, and used adventure and fantasy to get away from things, the doctor added. His evidence, on behalf of Boy B, was ultimately ruled inadmissible by the judge.

Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)
Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)

Prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan said the doctor’s evidence should be excluded. He argued Dr Humphries’ report contained “lots of jargon” but there didn’t appear to be any engagement with the facts of what happened in Boy B’s interviews with gardai.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott ruled the evidence was inadmissible, saying he did not accept the jury required the evidence of a psychologist to understand a 13-year-old could be shocked by witnessing a murder.

The judge said the circumstances will be at the forefront of their minds. He said that jurors had all experienced teenage years, some may have children and most would have come into contact with teenagers.

He said this common life experience did not need to be the subject of an expert report by a psychologist.

Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)
Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)

Judge McDermott also said it was the jury’s function to assess the lies the prosecution relied on. Boy B had given gardai the reasons why he had told lies, and he had maintained them.

In his report, Dr Humphries claimed that Boy B had difficulty processing what he had seen. He said the boy had come up with a series of explanations, not intended as lies, but intended to give an account of what happened, while also showing he had no part in it.

Boy B was also trying to avoid the memory of what had happened, the doctor said. He said he spoke to Boy B but also looked at the garda interviews with him.

Dr Humphries said Boy B was “very powerless in a very small room with lots of adults”.

Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)
Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)

In the videos of interviews, Dr Humphries claimed Boy B “shut down”.

“I don’t think he made sense of much at all of what was happening in those high energy verbal situations,” he said.

Dr Humphries also said his first impression of Boy B was that he was “over friendly” and “very polite”. He was a “pleasant enough lad” but was “quite defensive initially”.

In his evidence, Boy B’s father said his son liked computer games and anime, a type of Japanese animation series.

Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)
Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)

He did not like anything to do with fights or sports - he had no interest in soccer, his father said - but he liked puzzles, Lego and Transformers. 

He is also a chess fan - and has been playing chess during any break periods in the course of the trial.

Boy B’s father agreed his son also liked making bows and arrows and spears. 

His son was happy he was doing something with his hands, rather than sitting in front of a computer, his father added.

In interviews with gardai, Boy B said that Deadpool was his favourite Marvel character but his friends preferred Thor or the Hulk.

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