Dublin teen may get community service for vicious gang attack

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
The defendant struck the first blow but was not involved in the rest of the attack
The defendant struck the first blow but was not involved in the rest of the attack

A COMMUNITY service report has been sought on a 17-year-old-Dublin boy, who instigated a vicious gang attack on a young man outside a takeaway.

In April the same teenage defendant was spared a sentence and given 12 months' probation for taking part in violence during the Jobstown protest on Nov. 15, 2014 when then Tanaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton was allegedly trapped in her car for hours.

In a separate case, the boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, has pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to assault causing harm and violent disorder in connection with a gang attack in Tallaght in November last year.

He addressed the court to apologise for the assault.

Judge John O'Connor asked for an updated probation report to assess if the teen was suitable for community service. Earlier he was furnished with a psychological assessment of the teenager and he warned the boy he was at a high risk of getting a custodial sentence. 

Previously, the judge also observed that the boy has at times become more violent and aggressive. He also noted the boy had tragic personal circumstances.

He was also informed that the teenager had significant issues: his peer group, coming to negative attention, abuse of drugs and alcohol. 

He had also said it was unacceptable that the boy had started smoking cannabis at the age of 12 and anyone who says it is not addictive, “is not living in the real world”.
Garda Dave Jennings had told Judge O'Connor that the victim, a foreign national who is in his late teens, had been at a Chinese takeaway at Kiltalown Way, Tallaght. A group of youths shouted in to him that they were going to rob him when he came out.

When he emerged one of the group held the handlebars of his bicycle and the defendant then punched him to the side of his face.

The rest of the youths then joined in and they grabbed the young man who was repeatedly punched and kicked before his bike was stolen. The defendant struck the first blow but was not involved in the rest of the attack.

The victim fled back into the takeaway but was followed and had to run into the kitchen area for his safety. Gda Jennings agreed with defence counsel Damian McKeone that the attack was not racially motivated.

CCTV footage was shown to Judge O'Connor who described it as a “vicious assault”.

The court heard the teen already had seven prior criminal convictions including assault, drug possession, public order offences and handling stolen property, which led to him being placed on probation. 

Judge O'Connor also heard the teenager has been taking part in anger-management counselling and co-operated with the investigation. 

He said the guilty plea meant that the victim did not have to give evidence and relive the incident and as a result he would not face the court's maximum penalty, a two-year sentence.

In April the boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, was spared a custodial sentence and placed on 12 months' probation after he pleaded guilty to violent disorder during the Jobstown water protest in November 2014. He also admitted breaking a garda car windscreen during confrontations between gardai and protesters.