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Thug beat Topaz manager with can before being chased and hosed with fire extinguisher

Thug beat Topaz manager with can before being chased and hosed with fire extinguisher

A DUBLIN youth, who beat a shop manager over the head with a tin can during a vicious assault, has been spared a custodial sentence.

The attack was broken up when the man's colleague hosed down a group of violent teens with a fire-extinguisher.

Christopher Byrne (19) from Cabra Park, who had 39 prior criminal convictions, pleaded guilty to violent disorder and assault causing harm, at a Topaz garage shop, in Balgriffin, D.17, on Feb. 19, 2015.

The case was heard at the Dublin Children's Court because a co-accused was a minor. Byrne was sentenced to 12-months supervised probation by Judge John O'Connor.

This means he must stay out of trouble and accept help from the Probation Service to help divert him from re-offending. Otherwise his case could be re-entered for breaching the terms of the order and he could face a custodial sentence.

Garda Ciaran Upton told Judge O'Connor Byrne and three other youths went to the Topaz shop to buy tea and coffee and the manager suspected one of them of theft.

The manager was attacked and ended up on the ground in a struggle with Byrne who picked up a solid tin can and used it to strike him over his eye.

The victim was struck a number of times and by more than one person when he was on the ground, the court heard.

Another shop worker was in fear and intervened by deploying a fire extinguisher to disperse the other three youths who ran outside after which the door was locked shut.

However, Byrne's three friends remained outside and the door was smashed in allowing him to get out at which all four fled. Gardai arrived after a panic alarm was activated to find the forecourt covered in white powder and the manager bleeding.

Byrne had seven convictions for motor theft offences, two for public order charges, seven for theft, one for violent behaviour in a Garda station as well as trespassing, drugs and driving offences.

Judge O'Connor described the incident as very frightening experience. Some €1,076 worth of damage was caused.

Defence counsel Damian McKeone said Byrne has a lot of issues but he has been attending counselling. He said the youth had taken "a considerable amount of tablets at the time". A probation report was also furnished to the court.

Two other youths aged 18 will be sentenced on later dates for their roles in the incident. Another accomplice, a 17-year-old boy, has been released on supervised probation for 12 months after he admitted to violent disorder and criminal damage charges.