Teen girl faces 10-month sentence for role in 'barbaric' gang mugging in Dublin

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
The 14-year-old girl was on acid at the time of the attack
The 14-year-old girl was on acid at the time of the attack

A THEN 14-year-old Dublin girl, who was on acid when she took part in “barbaric” mugging where a man was beaten unconscious by a gang, will be sentenced in January.

The girl, now 15, has 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 continuing bail for sentencing.

Judge John O'Connor was furnished with a probation report on the girl and also with a victim impact statement today.

He said the attack was barbaric before he adjourned sentencing until the New Year and warned the girl she must abide by her bail terms. “I am giving you a warning you are facing a possible 10-month sentence,” he told the teenager who was accompanied to court by her father.

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. As a condition of bail she can no longer associate with co-defendants.

The CCTV footage shows a pack teens surrounding the man who was repeatedly punched, kicked and kneed. They ripped his shirt off him before he was pulled him to the ground where kicks were 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 also said. The man had his phone taken during the mugging.

At an earlier stage the girl's father 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 has asked the court to note the girl's father was “disgusted” by her actions. 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.

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 later this month.

However, the Children's 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.