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Monday 23 April 2018

Teen who arranged fight on Facebook avoids prison sentence

Declan Brennan

A teenager who attacked another boy during a fight that was pre-arranged on Facebook has escaped a prison sentence.

Michael Norris, then aged 17, used a hurley to attack the 15-year-old victim at St Anne's Park, Raheny, on January 4 last year.

Norris (19) told gardai he intervened because of a call for help from his friend, who had arranged to meet up with the victim.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm. The court heard that Norris, of Swans Nest Avenue, Kilbarrack, has no previous convictions.

Judge Desmond Hogan said Norris had taken an “over-enthusiastic response” to his friend’s difficulty.

He handed down a two-year sentence, suspended in full on condition that Norris keeps the peace and is of good behaviour for two years.

Garda Sinead Green told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that the victim had arranged over Facebook to meet Norris' friend in the park for a fight. She said a group of more than 30 young people, some of whom were unknown to both youths, had gathered to watch the fight which she described as a “10-second scuffle” on the ground.

But the court heard that during the fight, Norris intervened by striking the victim a number of times with the hurley.

SKULL

The court heard a co-accused also hit the victim across the head using the hurley, fracturing his skull.

The victim received six stitches to his head and suffered from headaches for a while after the assault, but the evidence was that Norris did not cause these injuries.

Norris expressed remorse and shame to gardai and told them he had intervened because the victim was on top of his friend and his friend asked him to get the teenager off him.

Defence lawyer Fiona Murphy said Norris has engaged fully with the Restorative Justice Programme.

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