Teen accused of knocking care worker unconscious with sock containing glass bottle

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Teen accused of knocking care worker unconscious with sock containing glass bottle

A TEENAGE boy, who allegedly knocked a care worker unconscious using a sock containing a bottle of aftershave, yawned in court today as he was sent forward for trial.

Dublin Children's Court has heard that three boys who had been living in care home acted together to attack two staff members before stealing a car which was later written off.

The 17-year-old boy, the eldest defendant, appeared at the juvenile court today having not turned up on Tuesday when he refused to get out of bed.

Judge William Hamill had warned that he would issue an arrest warrant to have him forcibly brought to court if necessary. Care staff couldn't make him because they feared they would be accused of assault, the court was told. However, today they succeeded in persuading him to face the judge.

The teenager was yawning as Judge Hamill made an order sending him forward for trial at the next term of the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The boy, who has not yet entered a plea, was served with a book of evidence. He will face his next hearing on April 15, the judge ordered.

Earlier it had been held the case was too serious to be dealt with in the Children's Court which has less severe sentencing powers.

The juvenile court had heard that the youth and two younger boys who had been living in care home together acted together to attack two staff members before stealing a car which was later written off last September.

The 17-year-old boy is charged with stealing a car from a children's care home in Dublin on September 3 last, after the staff member was attacked. He is also charged with assault causing harm to producing a sock containing a bottle of aftershave in an assault causing harm to the male care worker. He also faces additional, connected charges for stealing car keys from the facility and damaging an office door.

Garda Ross Rowan had said at a previous hearing that it was alleged the 17-year-old had a leadership role in the violent incident. There were two members of staff on duty at the young people's centre. One male staff member went to a bedroom to talk to some of the residents about non-adherence to rules.

He walked in and found the three teens were fully dressed with coats and footwear on when they should have been in bed.

It was alleged the three teens acted together to distract the staff workers and to isolate them. Gda Rowan said that the 17-year-old struck a male staff member to the side of his head "a couple of times with a sock containing a bottle of aftershave". He said this weapon was very dangerous and had a similar effect to a sock containing a snooker ball and could do a lot of damage.

The man looked for help but a female colleague was prevented from assisting by the other youths who were allegedly armed with knives. The court heard the man struggled with the 17-year-old for five to ten minutes and was again hit with the sock containing the aftershave bottle. He lost consciousness and after he woke up he and his colleague had to "barricade" themselves into a room. 

It was alleged that at this point the 17-year-old, who has no prior criminal convictions and the co-defendants stole the care facility's car. On exiting the property the car stuck a corner of the building causing "significant damage".

Two hours later the car was found over-turned and left written-off, Gda Rowan said. The care worker had no long term physical injuries but has not returned to work. Two other boys are to appear at the juvenile court on later dates on charges connected to the same incident.