Homeless youth sentenced for his part in "horrendous assault" during robbery

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Homeless youth beat up Chinese man during gang robbery
Homeless youth beat up Chinese man during gang robbery

A homeless youth has been given a 10-month sentence for his part in a “pure savage” robbery of a Chinese man who was set on by a teen gang and beaten unconscious in Dublin city-centre.

A homeless youth has been given a 10-month sentence for his part in a “pure savage” robbery of a Chinese man who was set on by a teen gang and beaten unconscious in Dublin city-centre.

Dean McKeever (18) who was a juvenile at the time but has since reached adulthood was sentenced at the Dublin Children's Court yestetoday by Judge John O'Connor who described the unprovoked incident as a “horrendous assault on an innocent victim”

The youth is from Tallaght but was of no fixed abode and had to start using a hostel for homeless people after his drug problem spiralled out of control.

The court heard he was on LSD at the time of the robbery.

The then 17-year-old pleaded guilty robbery of the man, who is in his late twenties, at Liffey Street in the early hours of July 10th last.

The victim had his €300 phone and his shoes taken from him during the incident which allegedly involved up to seven other youths, including two girls.

Garda Paul Fay showed the juvenile court CCTV footage of the incident in which the teens were clearly seen as they swarmed around the man.

He was repeatedly punched, his shirt ripped off him before he was pulled him to the ground where the gang rained kicks to his head and body.

The surrounded 28-year-old could be seen trying to protect himself and struggled back on to his feet all the while the youths had him surrounded and were kicking and punching him.

The footage, described by Judge O'Connor as “pure savage” ends with the victim falling limply and ending up flat on his back, while receiving more kicks from almost every angle around him.

The man could then be seen lying motionless as his phone was stolen and his shoes were then taken off his feet by some of the youths who then fled.

Judge O'Connor said the incident was appalling and though he has viewed the footage a number of times “it does not get easier to watch”.

Garda Paul Fay said the victim suffered bruising and cuts and Judge O'Connor commented that he was fortunate not to have been killed.

Defence solicitor Aenghus McCarthy asked the court to note the youth had no prior criminal convictions and had a good teenage life.

He said the teenager had completed his secondary school education and had a scholarship for Shamrock Rovers for almost three years.

However, he gave up football after he suffered an injury and began smoking cannabis and “started taking things like acid”.

He also began hanging around with new people and “it all went rapidly downhill”.

For the past year he was “out on the streets and did not have any where to go”, the solicitor said.

His homelessness was the reason he missed appointments with his probation officer, the court also heard.

Mr McCarthy said the youth and had not been the member of the group who instigated the robbery but had been there and certainly did throw a punch.

A victim impact statement was furnished to the court along with a pre-sentence probation report on the defendant.

Refusing to suspend part of the sentence, Judge O'Connor said the 18-year-old was lucky his case was not sent to a higher court where he would have received much lengthier term.

A 14-year-old girl who also took part in the robbery and was the first to approach the victim is to be sentenced at the Children's Court in January.

Meanwhile it has been held that four other co-defendants, who are all in their teens, will face trial in the Circuit Court which has tougher sentencing powers.

Charges against a 17-year-old girl were dropped when the DPP agreed to allow her to be cautioned through the Garda juvenile diversion programme which is aimed at steering young first time offenders away from crime.