Young actor's face slashed during city centre 'row over ecstasy'

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Young actor's face slashed during city centre 'row over ecstasy'

A YOUNG actor was left permanently scarred after a horrific Dublin city-centre attack when a teenage boy slashed his face in a row about drugs, a court has heard

The 16-year-old defendant had been dealing drugs prior to the attack and his temper “flared up” when asked for a refund for selling fake ecstasy tablets, the Dublin Children's Court was told.

The boy, who cannot be named because he is minor, said “I'm very sorry for what I've done” after he was charged with causing serious harm to budding actor Andrew

Cusack (21) in the early hours of May 2 at Dame Lane in Dublin city-centre.

Mr Cusack is the son of Professor Stephen Cusack, an expert on emergency medicine at UCC.

The 16-year-old faced a preliminary hearing at the Dublin Children's Court to decide if his case should be dealt with there or instead sent forward to the Circuit Court which can impose lengthier sentences. 

Judge John O'Connor ruled that it was too serious for the juvenile court and should go to the higher court.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his visibly upset mother, was remanded in custody pending the preparation of the book of evidence. 

In an outline of the allegations Garda Keith Connors told Judge O'Connor he had been on duty in the area when he heard “a loud scream of a male I believed to be in agony”.

He found Mr Cusack with severe injuries and on his knees screaming.

He noticed “a large pool of blood on the footpath” and said the victim became hysterical and was in extreme pain. He was put in an ambulance and paramedics said he had to get straight to hospital. 

Gda Connors spoke friend of Mr Cusack who had been present during the incident. He learned that Mr Cusack had purchased what he believed to be ecstasy tablets from the defendant earlier however he discovered the drugs were not real. 

About 40 minutes later Mr Cusack and his friend ran into the teenager again at Dame Lane by “pure chance” and “looked for a refund”. There was a row and the boy picked up a glass from a window ledge and “the glass was thrust directly in to Mr Cusack's face”.

The teen remained silent during the hearing in which CCTV footage was played in court. The video showed the victim and his friend remonstrating with him and his group. 

After Mr Cusack was struck he can be seen in the footage dropping to his knees with blood pouring down his face and dripping on to the ground forming a large pool.

Medical reports said Mr Cusack had four scars from his lower left lip across on to his cheek ranging between four and six centimetres in length.

Judge O'Connor heard it is likely the young man will be permanently disfigured and that could affect his acting career. His lower left lip is permanently numb and may have been weakened. He will also require surgery and treatment for many years which is likely to cost several thousand euro.

Gda Connors said the man wanted to be an actor but “this horrific injury may scupper his chances.” It has also affected his personal confidence. 

The teen was arrested at his home in west Dublin after CCTV footage was circulated throughout a number of garda stations which led to his identification.  

He made admissions during an interview when he was shown the video evidence and he became extremely remorseful, said the garda. 

Defence solicitor David Stafford pleaded with he court to accept jurisdiction and told Judge O'Connor that the boy would plead guilty and is incredibly apologetic.

He said the teenager would say he sold the two men MDMA, an ecstasy substitute, and during the incident his temper “flared up” when the victim's friend put his hand on him.

The court heard the teenager has dropped out of school after the Junior Cert and was earlier diagnosed with having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Mr Stafford said the teen “fell in with a bad crowd” and was abusing including various tablets, cannabis and cocaine.

It is suspected he has psychological and psychiatric issues, and he has recently been involved in serious self harming incidents. The teen's family life had also been disrupted by him being the victim of severe bullying, the court heard.

After hearing the defence submissions and the summary of evidence, Judge O'Connor refused jurisdiction.