Wednesday 23 January 2019

Teen (17) detained after number of 'violent' crimes

Blinded: Mr Beltran’s injuries
Blinded: Mr Beltran’s injuries

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin teenager has received three years in detention for a number of violent crimes including attacking a street magician and stabbing a man visiting the city from Waterford.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, punched magician Mark Beltran but was not responsible for causing the injury that had blinded the victim.

Co-accused Luke Byrne (18) smashed a pint glass into the victim's face, permanently blinding him in the right eye. Byrne, of Geraldine Street, Phibsboro, Dublin, was jailed for nine and a half years in January for this attack and a spate of nine robberies.

Garda Michael Galligan said the youths assaulted the victim after he retrieved his stolen amp from their group.

Mr Beltran had reported the amp stolen after a street performance in Dublin's Temple Bar, the court heard.

The 17-year-old boy pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Mr Beltran at O'Connell Street, Dublin 1 on September 9, 2016. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting a homeless man, Martin Goth, while he slept in a doorway on O'Connell Street on the same date.

He pleaded guilty to robbing a 16-year-old boy's phone at Seapoint Avenue, Monkstown, Co. Dublin on October 17, 2016 and to assaulting Waterford resident Gavin Keoghan at Church Street, Dublin 7 on October 27, 2016.

He further pleaded guilty to violent disorder at Smithfield Square, Dublin 7 on November 1, 2016. He has five previous convictions for damaging property and failing to appear in court.

Gda Galligan told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that the youth kicked Mr Goth in the chest after demanded money and then followed this victim around the street in a threatening way. The court heard the attack was a short time after Mr Beltran had been assaulted.

Ms Dempsey submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that there was no victim impact report for Mr Goth because he had died in the years since.

Gda Galligan agreed with James Dwyer BL, prosecuting, that the teenager was “under the influence” when he was arrested on the night.

Garda Stephen Faulkner told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that a taxi driver intervened when he saw the teenager stab another victim, Mr Keoghan, at Dublin's Church Street.

The taxi driver later told gardaí that he spotted a group of youths surrounding the victim, before the 17-year-old stabbed him from behind. The victim got into the taxi and the group of youths, including the 17-year-old, surrounded the vehicle and tried to smash its windows.

Gda Faulkner revealed that there was no victim impact statement in this case either, but a medical report showed that Mr Keoghan received treatment in hospital for stab wounds.

Mr Keoghan told gardaí he didn't remember much of the assault, except that he had been returning to Smithfield after drinking with a friend and had gotten into a fight with “young fellas”.

Gda Faulkner said the 17-year-old made no admissions or comments during interview after his arrest.The garda agreed with Mr Dwyer that his client had entered a very early guilty plea in court to the assault.

Garda Richard Horgan told Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that the teenager was involved in a violent disorder incident in Smithfield Square a few days later.

The garda said French tourist Theo Petriccione received seven staples to a wound in his head after being attacked with a glass bottle. The court heard a co-accused in the group of youths was responsible for this injury.

Mr Dwyer submitted to Judge Nolan that the teenager had been taking seven grammes of cocaine up to three times a week around that period in 2016, but had since engaged in drug counselling. Counsel asked the judge to take into consideration his client's early guilty plea, his young age and his efforts at rehabilitation.

Judge Nolan noted that the teenager had not gotten into trouble since the offences. He complimented the taxi diver who witnessed the stabbing, describing the man's actions as “public spirited”.

He imposed three years detention on the teenager and said the term would have been longer had it not been for his young age.

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