Dublin boy (14) accused of series of sex attacks over two-week period

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
In evidence, Garda Damien O'Reilly the teen's motive was sexual
In evidence, Garda Damien O'Reilly the teen's motive was sexual

A 14-YEAR-OLD boy sexually assaulted a woman in front of her 12-year-old daughter during a series of sex attacks in Dublin over a two-week period, a court has heard.

The boy, now aged 15, is accused of five counts of sexual assault which occurred from January 20th until February 5th last 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 attacked.

The boy appeared at Dublin Children's Court today for a preliminary hearing to determine his trial venue. The Director of Public Prosecutions had recommended that the case could be dealt with in the juvenile court.

However, after he was given an outline of the allegations, Judge John O'Connor refused jurisdiction meaning the case will be sent forward to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

In evidence, Garda Damien O'Reilly 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 court heard he threatened  the girl 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, said Gda O'Reilly. The court 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 push 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.

The boy did not address the court but his parents were in tears during the hearing; his father became so overcome he had to leave the courtroom.

Gda O'Reilly 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.

Pleading for the case to be be kept in the juvenile court, Ms Hyland said that the teenager is now attending counselling. His parents were extremely upset and had no idea what was happening.

The schoolboy had no explanation but is extremely embarrassed and sorry, the defence lawyer said. He will plead guilty at the earliest opportunity and wanted get on with his life, she added.

The Children's Court can accept jurisdiction for cases involving serious allegations by taking into consideration the age of a defendant as well as submissions and evidence about their level of maturity.

Refusing jurisdiction, Judge John O'Connor said he noted the defence submissions and the boy's age.

However, he said the teenager faced incredibly serious charges and the attacks were not isolated incidents. There were five victims and he noted two of them were mothers who had children with them at the time.

The boy was remanded on continuing bail to appear again in January when it is expected he will be served with a book of evidence and sent forward for trial.