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15-year-old to be tried for series of sex attacks in Dublin

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
The boy, now aged 15, is accused of five counts of sexual assault
The boy, now aged 15, is accused of five counts of sexual assault

A THEN 14-YEAR-OLD boy, who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in front of her young daughter during a series of attacks in Dublin, has been sent forward for trial.

The boy, now aged 15, is accused of five counts of sexual assault which occurred from January 20th until February 5th last year at three locations in public places which are all close to each other in north Co Dublin. Two of the five victims were mothers who had young children with them when they were allegedly attacked.

The boy, who remains on bail, appeared at Dublin Children's Court yesterday/today (FRI) where he was served with a book of evidence. Judge Alan Mitchell told the boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother and his solicitor, that he must notify the prosecution if he intended to use an alibi in his defence.

The book of evidence was served on the teenager after which Judge Mitchell made an order sending him forward for trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where he will face his next hearing on January 29th. He has not yet entered a plea.

Legal aid was granted to allow him senior counsel representation.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had recommended that the case could be dealt with in the juvenile court. However, on November 18th Judge John O'Connor, then presiding, refused jurisdiction due to the seriousness of the case, and he ordered that the case must go to the Circuit Court which has tougher sentencing powers. 

In an outline of the evidence, Garda Damien O'Reilly had said the teen's motive was sexual. During the first incident it would be alleged the teenager approached a 14-year-old girl who was smoking a cigarette. He grabbed the cigarette from her hand but she continued walking. He followed her, grabbed her left arm and turned her around. Gda O'Reilly said it was alleged the teenager's zip was on undone and he told the girl to touch his penis.

The juvenile court heard he threatened by saying: “Touch my cock, I have a knife, I'm going to kill”. The girl was very scared and ran away afraid he would stab her.

Although a knife was not produced she thought he may have had one in his jacket or on his person, Gda O'Reilly said.

The court had heard the boy continued to follow her shouting “I have a knife I am going to kill you” and as she ran into a house he called her a “fucking bitch”.

It was alleged that four days later, he approached a young woman, in her twenties, who was walking through a housing estate with two friends. The court was told the teenager grabbed her from behind between her legs.

Gda O'Reilly said the boy allegedly pushed his hand up and grabbed on to her skin as if he were trying to touch her vagina. She screamed and he ran away but five minutes later the boy came back and was smirking as he grabbed her on her legs and told her she had “a nice ass”. The court head the woman is now afraid to go out at night.

The court was told the third incident took place two days later when a woman, in her thirties, was out walking with her 12-year-old daughter. She thought the teen was following her so she stopped to let him walk past. “A short time later she was pushed from behind on to the ground,” said Gda O'Reilly, adding that as she was held on the ground and her vagina was touched by the boy.

The woman told gardai, “ I thought he was going to rape me, I feared for my daughter as well.” She was wearing jeans and the boy put his hand on her vagina and also touched her breasts when he dragged her to the ground, the court heard.

The woman fought the teenager off but felt violated and disgusted afterwards, the court was told.

It was alleged the fourth attack happened on the afternoon of February 1 last. A then 14-year-old girl was walking through a housing estate when the boy came behind her and pulled down her trousers and her underwear but she fought him off and he ran away.

Four days later, a woman in her mid-twenties, was walking with her child, aged about 18 months, in a buggy. The court heard the boy approached her from behind and pulled down her trousers but he ran off when she began screaming.

Gda O'Reilly had agreed with defence solicitor Lisa Hyland that the teenager had no prior criminal convictions, has not come to garda attention since and made admission when he was arrested.

Ms Hyland had said that the teenager is now attending counselling; his parents were extremely upset and had no idea what was happening.