Thursday 15 November 2018

Teenage girl sexually assaulted on way home from school in Dublin, court hears

Dublin Children's Court
Dublin Children's Court

Tom Tuite

A TEENAGE girl was sexually assaulted on her way home from school after a group of boys surrounded her and prevented her from getting away, a court has heard.

A 17-year-old boy and another boy, aged 16, appeared at Dublin Children’s Court on Monday in connection with the alleged grope attack.

The older youth was charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment of the girl on a street in north Co. Dublin on a date in 2016. The co-defendant was solely charged with false imprisonment of the girl, who was 16 at the time.

The boys were aged 15 and 14 when it allegedly happened.

Garda John Delaney told Judge John O’Connor the teens had been charged earlier this month. They faced separate hearings in which Garda Delaney said they had no reply after they were charged.

He also told the court the Director of Public Prosecutions has recommended that the case should be dealt with in the juvenile court and not sent forward to the circuit court, which can impose lengthier sentences.

The boys cannot be named because they are minors.

In an outline of the allegations against the 17-year-old boy, Garda Delaney said it was the prosecution case that the girl, “was walking home from school at about 4pm when she was stopped by a group of youths of which the accused is alleged to have been one”.

“She was not allowed to continue on her journey and it is alleged the accused grabbed the injured party’s breast before leaving the scene,” Garda Delaney said.

He alleged the co-accused had been in the group of youths that surrounded the girl and prevented her from leaving while she was assaulted, the court was told.

Each youth was accompanied to the proceedings by their mothers and their lawyers.

Neither addressed the court and there was no indication of a plea.

Judge O’Connor made orders for disclosure of prosecution evidence to the defence.

He told them and their mothers that he was adjourning the case until a date in June when the court will rule on the trial venue issue.

The judge said the teens’ lawyers can make submissions under Section 75 of the Children Act.

This part of the legislation allows the juvenile court to accept jurisdiction to hear a trial for certain serious offences which would normally get forward sent to a higher court. The defence can cite the age and maturity of the defendant as well as any other relevant factors in setting out grounds for a serious case to remain in the Children’s Court.

Legal aid was granted.

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