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Dublin teen attacked deaf and mute couple in 'nasty' robbery

CourtsBy Sunday World
Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

A teenager who attacked a deaf and mute couple before robbing the woman of her handbag has been sentenced to two years.

Evan Smith (18) followed Michael and Helen Rush from a chipper into a nearby laneway where he knocked the woman to the ground and took her handbag. He also attacked Mr Rush leaving him with a cut above his eye.

Smith of Lealand Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery and assaulting Michael Rush causing him harm in Clondalkin on November 10, 2014. He has six previous convictions including robbery and burglary.

Judge Melanie Greally said the couple were taken by surprise and both sustained minor injuries.

She noted from victim impact reports before the court that the couple were now nervous when out in the evening and Mr Rush used a taxi to get home when he went to his local takeaway.

The judge said that Smith had spent a considerable time of his "young life" in prison and as such "has a strong sense of what it is like to have your liberty taken from you".

She described the offence as "serious and nasty" but said Smith was a young man "not without hope".

She noted that he was doing well since his remand in prison and had addressed his addiction before she suspended the final 12 months of the sentence on strict conditions. He is to remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for 12 months.

Detective Garda Brian O'Shaughnessy agreed with Aoife McNickle BL, defending, that her client was not aware of the couple's disabilities before he attacked them.

She said Smith had been "very promising in terms of his athletic ability" until he suffered a knee injury as a young teenager. His social circle changed and he got involved in substance abuse.

"He became involved in criminality to fund his addiction," Ms McNickle said. She said Smith had taken ketamine for the first time on the night of the attack.

Counsel said Smith was extremely ashamed of his actions and was acutely aware of the effect his actions had on the couple.

Det Gda O'Shaughnessy told Sinéad McMullan BL, prosecuting, that Mrs Rush cut her knee when she fell to the ground. The couple returned to the chipper after the attack and it was reported to the gardai.

They were present with gardai when they viewed CCTV footage from the takeaway and Mrs Rush pointed out Smith as the culprit.

Her handbag was later handed into the garda station but her keys, mobile phone and €35 in cash were not in it.

Sonya McLean