Friday 23 February 2018

Teen who beat girl in 'horrific attack' after she rejected his advances faces jail

Stock Picture
Stock Picture

Tom Tuite

A Dublin youth, who subjected a teenage girl to a horrific attack after she rejected his advances, has been warned he faces a one-year custodial sentence.

The youth, then aged 16, punched and repeatedly kicked the teenage girl in the head during the attack on a street in Dublin city-centre’s north-side on a date in September 2014.

He pleaded guilty to assault causing harm.

The Dublin Children’s Court heard the unprovoked attack happened after they met through Facebook friends.

The court was told he walked with her from the city-centre, however, he made an advance which was spurned by the girl at which she was punched and kicked in the head a number of times. She was bleeding and hospitalised with head and facial injuries which required stitches, the court was told.

The girl has provided a victim impact statement, and Judge John O’Connor remarked today she had a “horrific time and a life changing experience”. He described as moving the girl’s statement and the impact of the attack on her life.

He said while the court had to take the teenager into account in sentencing, he stressed that he also had to consider the victim as well the public perception of how the court deals with such offences

The court has heard that the youth, now aged 18, who had substance misuse issues, had no prior criminal convictions and has not come to Garda attention since.

Judge O’Connor said that since the teenager entered a guilty plea earlier this year he had missed three out of his six appointments with the Probation Service which had been asked to provide the court with a pre-sentence report.

Defence counsel Tessa White said the youth struggles to express himself and she asked for him to be given chance to take part in counselling. During a recess in the hearing on Thursday, the teenager tried to write a letter of apology to the victim but was unable to do it, counsel said. “While he acknowledges his actions, he has an awkwardness with expressing emotions,” she said.

He is about to start a training course and is enthusiastic about the placement, counsel said.

Judge O’Connor said a letter of apology was not sufficient and the teenager had already been warned at earlier that he risked facing a 12-month sentence. The judge said the boy missed three appointments with his probation officer and “made no genuine attempt to engage”. “You think it is all about you, I have a victim here, what am I going to say to her?,” the judge added.

The youth’s mother asked if compensation could be given to the victim and she said this had been suggested by her son. Judge O’Connor said the issue of compensation could be dealt with by the Probation Service.

He warned the youth, who did not address the court, that he “has eight weeks to turn it around” and a 100 per cent positive probation report would be necessary otherwise he will get get the 12-month custodial sentence.

The teen’s barrister suggested getting psychological report on the youth but Judge O’Connor said the Probation Service are very experienced and in a position to help. It was matter for the defence if they wanted to get a psychological report themselves, he said. He also explained that the court was used to dealing with young people who have communication problems.

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