Teenager who hit boy with baton during 'terrifying' assault given suspended sentence
A Dublin teenager who took part in the “terrifying” assault of a boy who was stabbed a number of times has been given a three year suspended sentence.
The boy, who turns 18 on Thursday, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder and assault causing harm on September 19, 2015. He cannot be named as he a juvenile.
Judge Melanie Greally suspended the prison term on strict conditions including that the accused carry out 240 hours community service. She said that he had repeatedly hit the victim on his leg and head with a baton and in some “misguided way” had felt he was justified in getting involved.
The judge noted that the victim had a “very promising sporting career” which he had been denied because of the accused's actions.
She accepted that the accused got involved in “a relatively advanced stage” in the incident and accepted that there was a favourable report from the Probation Service. It concluded that the teenager was at a low risk of re-offending, regretted his actions and had “distanced himself from that peer group”.
The victim, also a 17-year-old boy, was hanging out with some friends in north Dublin on the evening in question when he noticed a female friend being attacked by another girl.
Garda Brian Healy told prosecution barrister, Fiona McGowan BL, that the victim held back the aggressor and told her to “leave it out”, giving his friend time to flee to safety. But the girl then accused him of hitting her and said she would have him “sliced up”, Gda Healy said.
A short time later, the boy was approached by a gang of teenagers, including the girl's brother, who stabbed him a number of times in the back without warning, the court heard. Two other teenagers hit him with a crutch before the victim “ran for his life”, Ms McGowan said.
However, there was blood pouring down his back and he soon slowed down before being caught by the teenagers, who dragged him back down the road and started kicking him to the head. At this point, the accused came on the scene and started hitting the victim to the head and legs with a baton.
“(The victim) was completely terrified and thought he was going to die,” Ms McGowan said.
A man eventually came on the scene and chased the gang away, before a woman took him into her home and called an ambulance and gardaí. The victim suffered several wounds to his back and scalp and had to have his chest drained. He spent over a week in hospital.
Ms McGowan said the victim suffered post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of the attack. He failed his Leaving Cert and a soccer scholarship he had been offered for the US fell through as a result.
Seamus Clarke BL, defending, said the attack was a “terrifying ordeal for the young man involved”.
He said his client was not present from the start of the incident, but came on the scene by taxi after he received a phone call from another teenager. He was not aware a knife was used in the attack, the court heard.
In the wake of the incident, the accused was “shunned” by his school mates and left school early to work in a hotel, Mr Clarke said. He had saved €1500 of his earnings to give to his victim as a token of his remorse. His parents also handed up a letter of remorse to the court.
Mr Clarke said his client had taken steps to deal with his offending behaviour, including attending drug counselling and anger management classes.