Dublin teen kicked tourist five times in the face during 'savage' ATM robbery

Court: The attack took place on Dublin's O'Connell Street
Court: The attack took place on Dublin's O'Connell Street

A Dublin teenager has been sentenced to three and half years for his role in the savage attack on an Italian national which left the victim with a dislocated and broken shoulder.

Christopher Roberts (19) admitted to gardaí later in interview that he kicked Francesco Brescia five times in the face after he claimed he stepped in to defend one of his brothers. 

Mr Brescia told officers that he and his brother had been at an ATM getting out cash when two men tried to take the money off them. A fight broke out during which Mr Brescia was knocked to the ground and kicked to the face, eye, head and back. 

Garda Alan Murphy told Joseph Barnes BL, prosecuting, that the victim was beaten by five men, including Roberts and his brothers. He lost consciousness for a couple of seconds and was still lying on the ground when gardaí arrived on the scene.

Mr Brescia was later treated in hospital for a dislocated shoulder that had been broken in both the front and the back. His right eye was also damaged and bleeding.

Roberts of Kildare Road, Crumlin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal to assault causing harm on O’Connell Street in November 24, 2012. He had no previous convictions at the time but has since been sentenced in the District Court for theft and public order offences.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Roberts to three and half years detention but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions.

He described the attack as savage and said Mr Brescia still feels the affects and “the trauma of the beating is still with him”.

Judge Nolan said the victim’s injuries were “foreseeable from this vicious assault”. He accepted that Roberts had a dysfunctional background and had no structure in his family life. He also took into account his expression of remorse.

Mr Brescia told Judge Nolan that he wakes up with pain in his shoulder and has trouble sleeping. He said he still does not have full movement of it.

Garda Murphy read from Mr Brescia’s victim impact report which stated that he was out of work for four months as a result of the attack and had a loss of earning of almost €11,000. He has attended at hospital, the eye clinic and physiotherapy 34 times and has scars from the surgery to his shoulder.

The report stated that Mr Brescia is nervous being out, has problems socialising and has become very insecure. “I was confident before, now I feel weak in society,” he stated. He had been living in Ireland for four years before the assault and had thought it was “a safe place” but he doesn’t think that any more.

“My quality of life has dropped,” he said.

Garda Murphy agreed with John Fitzgerald BL, defending that Roberts had little parental supervision as a child because there was history of drug abuse and criminality within his family.

He accepted that he made “full and candid admissions” during garda interview and had claimed he had initially got involved to help his brothers. He also apologised for his behaviour and showed “some level of insight”.

Mr Fitzgerald said that apart from a few minor convictions in the months after the assault, Roberts has not come to garda attention and has “changed his ways”.

Counsel said his client had taken a “cocktail of drink and drugs” on the night but has since addressed his addiction. He handed in reports which he said were evidence of “a turnaround” in Robert’s behaviour.

A letter from his mother was handed into court which outlined the family background and stated that Roberts had witnessed incidents of violence as a young child.

Sonya McLean