Tuesday 21 January 2020

Teen took part in litany of 'extreme violence' during '28 minutes of madness', court told

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Tom Tuite

A YOUTH took part in litany of “extreme violence” unprovoked street attacks in Dublin during “28 minutes of madness”, a court has heard.

At a preliminary hearing at the Dublin Children’s Court on Friday, Judge John O’Connor viewed about an hour of CCTV evidence. He held that the case was too serious to be dealt with in the Children’s Court meaning the 17-year-old school boy’s case will go forward to the Circuit Court, which has tougher sentencing powers.

The court heard the teenager was later filmed on a phone with blood-stained hands bragging about the incidents and a victim’s inability to defend himself.

He faces faces 14 charges arising out incidents in the city centre’s south-side in the early hours of Nov. 17 when eight young men were attacked, allegedly at random, and seven of them sustained serious injuries including one man who was allegedly on his knees begging for his safety.

The court heard the victims were aged 19 and in their early 20s.

In an outline of the allegations, Garda Niall Murray told the court the first incident happened at 3.12am at Harcourt Street when a man was punched.

Seven minutes later another young man was attacked resulting in the loss of his front teeth and he needed two stitches to the back of his head.

It was alleged the teen was the first to come at him with a “flying kick” and he was also involved in the attack afterwards, Garda Murray said.

Four minutes later at Montague Street three men were attacked with punches to the head. It was alleged it continued on to Camden Street and the garda said the boy, who cannot be identified because he is a minor, was involved and could be clearly seen striking their faces.

The court heard the teen knocked one of the men unconscious and the second man had a broken nose and to two other fractures on his face.

A minute later another man was attacked at Camden Row after his phone was grabbed from his hand and smashed against a wall, allegedly by the 17-year-old.

The man was knocked to the ground after he sustained a number of blows to his head.

He needed three stitches above his right eye and had an abrasion on his cornea and suffered blurry vision for two weeks after the attack.

Garda Murray said the teenager engaged in “extreme violence” during this incident.

The last attacks, on two other men, was minutes later where Montague Street intersects with Harcourt Street, Judge John O’Connor heard.

One man suffered a broken jaw while the second man had fractured ribs after the attack. The court heard one of the men had been on his knees “begging for his safety” before he was “flattened” by another person facing separate proceedings.

Garda Murray said it was a “savage assault”. Phone footage of the teenager boasting while showing his blood covered hands was recovered. It was also alleged he was filmed “slagging” one of the victims saying “he needs to learn to defend himself”.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had advised that the boy’s case should be sent forward to the Circuit Court. However, the Children’s Court has discretion to accept jurisdiction by taking into consideration a number of factors.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble described the teen’s involvement as “28 minutes of madness” and he added that the youth intended to plead guilty. He said the teenager wanted to carry on his education and had never been in trouble in school.

He also asked the court to note the boy had been with older people at the time and was “barely able to hold himself up”.

Medical reports and photos of the men’s injuries were handed in to court.

Judge O’Connor noted the defence submissions but held that the case should go to the higher court. The boy, who was accompanied to court by mother, was remanded on continuing bail to appear again next month to be served with a book of evidence.

Three other men are also before the courts awaiting trial in connection with the incidents.

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