Tuesday 20 August 2019

Teen who fatally stabbed 17-year-old is suffering from epileptic type condition, court hears

Dovydas Jenkus (17)
Dovydas Jenkus (17)

Alison O'Riordan

A teenage boy who fatally stabbed a 17-year-old in Co Mayo on Christmas week is suffering from an epileptic type condition with seizure like episodes of up to ten times a day, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The accused, who is now 17, was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by a jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Castlebar in July.

He cannot be named because of his age.

The deceased, Dovydas Jenkas, of Mount Street, Claremorris, died from a single stab wound in the early hours of December 19th, 2015 in Claremorris.

At today’s sentence hearing, Michael Bowman SC, defending, told Ms Justice Eileen Creedon that his client was suffering from an epileptic type condition with seizure like episodes of up to ten times a day.

The episodes involve transient alteration of awareness, posturing, automatic behaviours with rapid return to normalities, the court heard. The accused is amnesic (no memory) during the spells and surgery may be needed, he said.

Mr Bowman noted that a concerted effort is being made by neurological parties to find a diagnosis. “He is waiting on a bed so the most qualified neurosurgeons can give some class of prognosis,” he said.

The barrister said that his client’s mother has had to give up her employment to look after her son and a custodial sentence weighed heavily on the accused's mind.

Outlining the mitigating factors in the case Mr Bowman said his client had no previous convictions, was at a low risk of re-offending and that a “very positive” probation report was before the court which showed his potential. The court also heard the accused has honoured all his commitments in terms of bail.

He said that his client came to to this country as a non-national and succeeded academically. "The court has to factor in that this is a young man with significant educational promise which was broken midstream and see if he can re-engage in education,” he said.

In his submissions, Mr Bowman said that the accused was found in a distressed and tearful condition by gardaí following the fatal stabbing and he showed them the weapon which had been used.

Mr Bowman told the judge that she would have to consider the Children Act, 2001 when it came to sentencing and that a deferred detention might suit the circumstances of the case.

“It may become inevitable that a custodial environment may not be appropriate,” he added.

Counsel said that he does not have a prognosis of the teenager’s health which has deteriorated in the last six months and this must “weigh heavily” on the court.

Ms Justice Creedon said that she would be reluctant to proceed to sentencing without knowing “where he is medically”.

The court will hear medical evidence from the teenage boy's doctor on November 21.

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