Girl (14) was on acid during "savage" city-centre robbery and assault

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
“Absolutely savage”: The attack occurred on Liffey Street in Dublin city
“Absolutely savage”: The attack occurred on Liffey Street in Dublin city

A THEN 14-year-old girl was on acid when she took part in a “savage” Dublin city-centre gang mugging of a man who was beaten unconscious, a court heard.

The girl, now 15, pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to her role in the robbery of the Chinese national (28) at Liffey Street in the early hours of July 10th last and was remanded on bail for sentencing.
She is one of seven young people who had been charged; unlike most of them, the juvenile court accepted jurisdiction for her case due to her age, plea of guilty and lack of prior criminal convictions.
The CCTV evidence shows a pack of teens, including five boys, surrounding the man who was repeatedly punched, kicked and kneed. They ripped his shirt off him before he was pulled to the ground where kicks rained down on his head and body. 
The 28-year-old could be seen trying to protect himself and struggled to stand up while the youths still had him surrounded and some of them continued kicking and punching him. A final blow to the back his head saw him knocked out, flat on his back and left lying on the street motionless.
Judge O'Connor has said: “I have seen that video on a number of occasions and each time I am equally shocked.” He has described it as “absolutely savage” and as “gang mentality of its worst kind”.
The victim, who suffered cuts and swelling to his face, a lump on his head, bruising on his legs and severe bruising on chest could have been killed, the judge has also said. The man's phone was also taken during the mugging.
The girl's father came to court with her and he was in tears as he watched the footage of his daughter and the gang. 
She was the first to approach the victim and appeared to hug him before the beating took place. At the end of the ordeal, she flung his shoe at him as the gang ran off.
The girl was laughing and joking when she was arrested and taken to a city-centre garda station shortly after the robbery.
Defence solicitor Michelle Finan asked the court to note the girl's father was “disgusted”. She said the teen had no prior criminal convictions and has not been in trouble since. 
Social services had become involved to help the girl's father who had difficulty controlling her.
The solicitor asked the court to note the girl had not caused the injuries suffered by the victim but was pleading guilty to her involvement in the incident. Judge O'Connor asked the Probation Service to furnish the court with a pre-sentence report on the girl who could face a custodial sentence.
In July, she spent a week in custody on remand after her family refused to take her home. Her father had said there has been problems with her behaviour for the past two years and that he has been “battling to keep her off the streets”.
The upset man explained that he spent nights searching the city for his daughter whom he said hangs around with older youths and men, and also takes drugs. He said that at one point these people attacked him when he tried to bring her home and he was put in danger. 
He said her schooling has became “non-existent” and he tried to get her help and drug counselling from social services. However, he had added, she kept “running the streets” and was not safe. 
An 18-year-old youth, who has pleaded guilty at the juvenile court to his part in the mugging, is due to face sentencing in December.
However, the court has refused jurisdiction to hear the case of four other co-defendants, all boys aged 16 and 17. They are waiting to be served with books of evidence and are to be tried in the Circuit Court, which has tougher sentencing powers.
Another girl, aged 17, had her charge dropped after it was agreed she could be dealt with by cautioning through the Garda juvenile diversion programme, which attempts to steer young people from crime and the courts.