Teen threw wok full of scalding food over care home worker

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Teen threw wok full of scalding food over care home worker

A TEENAGER has been found guilty of an assault at a children's home where a care worker had a wok full of scalding food thrown over him.

The attack happened after the troubled boy (17) got angry that care workers would not take him out for a drive because of his aggressive behaviour, the Dublin Children's Court heard.

Judge John O'Connor was told the incident took place at a residential care home for teens in Dublin on a date last August.

The care worker said that the teenager got up at 11am that day and was aggressive and constantly making demands for lifts in the facility's car. However, because of his behaviour they refused and he began threatening the staff.

He started cooking some food on a wok in the kitchen. Another staff member who had gone out for a little while returned and asked how he had behaved and the teen replied that he was okay. However, the victim told his colleague that the youth had not been okay but had been aggressive and threatening. 

Previously the teen had been involved in a lot of "unauthorised absences" from the unit, the court also told. 

The man said the boy was 15 to 20 feet away from him, holding the wok "with a full fry, and he just lobbed it at me, I blocked it with my left arm".

He told defence solicitor David Stafford that "it happened so quickly I just had time to put my hand up, I was covered in boiling meat".

After losing the case, during which the victim faced cross-examination, the youth instructed his solicitor to apologise on his behalf.

However, the judge said "I'm not buying it".

He said that the victim was put under pressure as if his behaviour had contributed to the incident, when there was no evidence of that.

The court heard that the youth had seven prior criminal convictions for criminal damage and public order offences and he had been given a suspended sentence earlier this year. He is also awaiting trial for another alleged assault.

He was accompanied to the hearing by his guardian ad litem and his parents.

At the end of the hearing, he issued a direct apology to the victim.

His voice was shaking as he spoke: "I'd like to say I'm sorry, you shouldn't have been in that situation regardless how I was feeling at that time.

"I should not have thrown the pan at you and acted aggressively. I was going through a lot of stuff at the time, I was not thinking what I was doing, I wasn't thinking I would end up in a situation like this.

"I'm honestly sorry, you took care of me when I was there and I did get on with you well."

The care worker said he accepted the apology and thanked the teen.

Sentencing was adjourned to allow a probation report on him to be furnished to the court.