Thursday 22 March 2018

Teen (17) facing trial for allegedly smashing bottle over man's head and viciously attacking him

The Children's Court, Smithfield
The Children's Court, Smithfield

Tom Tuite

A youth is facing trial for an attack in Dublin where a French national was injured when a bottle was smashed over his head and he was viciously beaten after being knocked to the ground.

The 17-year-old boy is charged with violent disorder and assault causing harm to the French man at Smithfield Square in the early hours of Nov. 1, 2016. He faced a preliminary hearing at the Dublin Children’s Court where Judge John O’Connor refused jurisdiction and held that the case should go to the Circuit Court which has tougher sentencing powers.

His ruling came after investigating Garda Richard Horgan gave an outline of the evidence and played a compilation of video clips obtained from CCTV cameras in the area which captured the incident.

Garda Horgan said the man alleged he was walking back to his apartment when the teen, who cannot be named because he is a minor, approached and threatened him to leave the area “because I am going to kill you”. The accused and a group allegedly followed the man.

The first piece of footage showed a group of young people at Smithfield Luas stop and the victim and his friend walking past. The next clip from Smithfield Square showed silhouettes outlining the man and his friend being chased by a group before he was knocked down and attacked. It was alleged the teen had “an active role in this incident”.

He received kicks and punches as he was on the ground and a glass bottle was broken over his head, the court heard.

The victim’s friend fled into an apartment building reception area and was followed by the teen, the court heard. Garda Horgan said the teenager could then be seen “aggressively trying to attack the friend of the injured party”.

A video clip was shown of the teen chasing the second man around a security guard’s desk until he was held back by one of his friends and escorted away. Garda Horgan said the Director of Public Prosecutions had recommended that the case should go to forward to a higher court.

The juvenile court can accept jurisdiction in many serious cases by taking into consideration the age and level of maturity of the defendant as well as any other factors deemed relevant.

A medical report on the victim who needed seven stitches was also furnished to the court.

The defence submitted that the Children’s Court was an appropriate trial venue and the teenager was aged 16 at the time. The defence said they were not trivialising the incident but argued that the injuries received were not the most serious and the victim’s injuries did not have long term effects.

The teen’s solicitor said the Children’s Court had a wide range of sentencing powers and if the case were sent to the Circuit Court it could take a year before it was finalised. The defence submitted that the boy had made positive strides in his life and it would be unfair and not in the interest of justice if was not dealt with in the Children’s Court.

Judge O’Connor said the teenager, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, still had the presumption of innocence. He said a medical report stated that a CT scan showed the victim suffered an acute injury but he said the court could not know the man’s psychological injury. He held that the case was too serious to be dealt with in the juvenile court.

A book of evidence was served on the youth today and Judge O’Connor made the order sending him forward for trial to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where he will face his next hearing on Feb. 16, 2018.

Two 18-year-old women have also been returned for trial as co-defendants accused of violent disorder and assault causing harm to the man.

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