Dublin youth beat shop manager over head with tin can in vicious assault

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Dublin youth beat shop manager over head with tin can in vicious assault

A DUBLIN youth, who beat a shop manager over the head with a tin can during a vicious assault, has been remanded on bail pending sentence.

The attack was broken up when the man's colleague hosed down a group of violent teens with a fire-extinguisher.

Christopher Byrne (19) from Cabra Park, who had 39 prior criminal convictions, pleaded guilty to violent disorder and assault causing harm, at a Topaz garage shop, in Balgriffin, Dublin 17, on February 19, 2015.

The case was heard at the Dublin Children's Court because a co-accused is a minor.

Garda Ciaran Upton told Judge John O'Connor that Byrne and three other youths went to the Topaz shop to buy tea and coffee and the manager suspected one of them of theft.

The manager was attacked and ended up on the ground in a struggle with Byrne who picked up a solid tin can and used it to strike him over his eye.

The victim was struck a number of times and by more than one person when he was on the ground, the court heard.

Another shop worker was in fear and intervened by deploying a fire extinguisher to disperse the other three youths who ran outside after which the door was locked shut.

However, the three teens remained outside and the door was smashed in allowing Byrne to get out at which all four fled. Gardai arrived after a panic alarm was activated to find the forecourt covered in white powder and the manager bleeding.

Byrne had seven convictions for motor theft offences, two for public order charges, seven for theft, one for violent behaviour in a Garda station as well as trespassing, drugs and driving offences.

Judge O'Connor described the incident as very frightening experience.

Defence counsel Damian McKeone said Byrne has a lot of issues and has been attending counselling. He said the youth had taken "a considerable amount of tablets at the time". A probation report on Byrne and a victim impact statement was sought by the judge.

Keith Delaney (18) from Templeview Avenue, Clarehall, pleaded guilty to a single charge of violent disorder. The court heard that before he was put out of the shop he and co-defendants "approached the manager in a threatening way". He had also been seen kicking the shop door but Gda Upton agreed he had a more minor role.

Delaney had 14 prior criminal convictions including robbery and theft . He is taking part in an educational course and had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but he had stopped taking his medication.

Construction worker Dillon Fetherston (18) from Glin Park, in Coolock, pleaded guilty to violent disorder and criminal damage. He was seen striking the shop manager. After he was locked out, he threw a bale of briquettes through the door and kicked it in, the court was told. He had one prior conviction for a public order offence.

Some €1,076 worth of damage was caused. Byrne, Fetherston and Delaney will be sentenced in July.

A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, pleaded guilty to violent disorder and criminal damage. In relation to the boy's role, Gda Upton said the shop manager stated that during the attack there was "more than one set of hands coming at him, punching him in the face". The boy also accepted he kicked the door during the incident.

The youth has ADHD, is in an educational course, had no prior convictions and is sorry, counsel said. The judge said the boy having ADHD was no excuse but it would be taken into consideration during sentencing. He is youngest of the defendants and his case was adjourned until later this month when a probation report on him will be ready.