Dublin teen to be sentenced over melee that left garda unconscious

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
The teenager was 13 at the time of the incident
The teenager was 13 at the time of the incident

A DUBLIN teenager is facing sentence for assault and violent disorder during an out of control incident where a garda was knocked unconscious while trying to find a troubled boy.

The Dublin Children's Court heard gardai feared for their own safety after they found the missing boy (13) at a house party but were set on by 15 to 20 youths. 

Garda David Egan was repeatedly punched and dragged away by youths while his colleague Gda Paula Carter was knocked unconscious and kicked on the ground.

The now 15-year-old boy had denied violent disorder and assaulting Garda David Egan in connection with the incident in north Dublin in February last year. However, he was found guilty following a trial before Judge John O'Connor.

The repeat teen offender, who has five prior criminal convictions, had sentencing adjourned for a probation report to be prepared.

Gda Egan said a 13-year-old boy was reported missing by his mother who feared he was going to self-harm and had recently been hospitalised for a suspected drug overdose.

He was located at a house where there were 15 to 20 other young people.  He told Judge O'Connor he and his colleague attempted to speak to the boy but “we were set on by the group”. Gda Carter was grabbed by her shoulders and abuse was shouted at them.

Gda Egan said that as he tried to get the missing boy to their patrol car one youth began “pulling out of me and flung Gda Carter to the ground and kicked her on the ground.”

Gda Egan said he tried to hold that youth but the defendant and two or three other males “were dragging out of me”.

He said he received punches to the back of his head and the then 14-year-old defendant punched him to the side of his head leaving him slightly dazed. He feared for his safety and that of his colleague.

In cross-examination with defence solicitor Mairead White he explained that when the group of youths were hitting him “I was getting pulled up the road”. 

Ms White said her client did not have the best recollection and thought he was trying to help his friend and when told to go he left. Gda Egan disagreed and said he was certain he was assaulted by the boy.

Gda Carter told the court that when they went to the house there were fears for the welfare of the missing boy who had told his mother her was going to self harm and self medicate.  She was verbally abused and the youths would not let gardai talk to the boy, she said.

She described being pulled by her shoulders while her colleague Gda Egan was engaged with two or three other youths. She said she and one youth went to the ground in a struggle but she got back up to see Gda Egan being dragged up the road “engaged in a melee with a number of youths”. 

A youth “threw me to the ground and I lost consciousness” she said, adding she feared for her safety during the violent incident. She was taken to hospital and received a stitch to a gash to back of her head.

The upset officer held back tears as she recalled the incident and told Judge O'Connor, “As a result of this incident I am afraid to do my job. I still engage in active duty but as a result of his incident my attitude to the job has changed.

Back-up arrived to find Gda Egan attending to an unconscious Gda Carter on the ground. One officer described the scene as: “When we arrived there was lots of excited, aggressive, drunk teenagers”. 

CCTV evidence was also shown during the trial and Judge O'Connor said he had no difficulty convicting the boy who did not give evidence.

The court heard the teenager is in an educational course but has prior convictions for robbery, production of weapon during a fight, criminal damage and theft and had previously been placed on probation and received a suspended sentence.

The judge warned the teenager, who was accompanied to court by his mother, that he is at a high risk of getting a custodial sentence.