Howth incident | 

Boy (16) knocked girl 'head first' under Dart and 'nonchalantly' moved away, court told

CCTV footage emerged of a 17-year-old girl at Howth Junction station falling between the platform and a stationary train on April 1
A still from CCTV of the incident on April 1, 2021, at Howth Junction Dart station

A still from CCTV of the incident on April 1, 2021, at Howth Junction Dart station

Tom Tuite

A 16-year-old boy knocked a girl “head first” under a Dart train and “nonchalantly” moved away, a judge said today.

CCTV footage emerged of a 17-year-old girl at Howth Junction station falling between the platform and a stationary train on April 1.

She was helped back onto the platform by staff and her friends.

Investigating gardaí obtained directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and charged three youths aged 16 and 17 last month.

They are accused of violent disorder by using or threatening to use violence with two others, causing others to fear their safety.

The 16-year-old has an additional charge for assault causing harm to the girl.

Today they faced a preliminary hearing at the Dublin Children's Court to consider their trial venue.

The DPP directed "trial on indictment" in the Circuit Court, which has broader sentencing powers.

Judge Paul Kelly watched the video footage and heard Garda Kevin O'Boyle outline the evidence.

He told the court 10 to 15 youths “shouting and roaring” hassled passengers and caused a disturbance on the train.

Security officers were dealing with them and preventing them from re-entering the train.

Meanwhile, six girls ran onto the platform to catch the Dart.

One of the 17-year-old boys swung his foot at a girl from his bike, making contact with her face.

The 16-year-old boy, who also had a bicycle, used his handlebars to lunge at another girl striking her knee. The court heard, "as a result, she fell down off the platform, head first".

An OCS security man raised the alarm with the train driver and pulled the girl from under the train back onto the platform.

Howth Junction DART Station

Howth Junction DART Station

She had a knee laceration and a bad cut and bruise on her back. She was visibly distressed and in shock.

The court heard she was in Leaving Cert year at the time and already suffering from anxiety.

Afterwards, it was difficult for her to go to school, where she would spend "most of her day in the toilet crying".

Her parents took her out of school before her exams and are getting her help, the court heard.

The garda said she is on medication and “going through a difficult time”.

The court heard the group of youths were not known to the victim.

State solicitor Niamh McKernan urged the judge to refuse jurisdiction; she argued that they showed "no remorse" and did not help her.

The solicitor asked the judge to note that the girl's mental health had taken a "severe blow".

Counsel for the 16-year-old, accompanied to court by his parents, said he was remorseful.

The defence submitted that it was highly reckless and described his actions as a "very stupid move". He had reflected on the consequences and disassociated himself from the group.

His barrister also submitted he had no previous convictions. The court heard the schoolboy was eager to "deal with the case and put it behind him".

Judge Kelly held the two older boys had a peripheral role, and he accepted jurisdiction in their cases.

However, he said, the 16-year-old lunged with his bicycle with "devastating consequences".

“But for the actions of the security guard, we could have been facing a very different scenario today,” he remarked.

Refusing jurisdiction in that boy's case, he noted that he "nonchalantly pushes his bike away" after he assaulted her, leaving others to help the victim.

They will appear again in January.

The youngest of the three will be served with a book of evidence and sent forward for trial to the higher court.

The other two will be expected to enter pleas in the Children's Court.

They have been ordered to obey strict bail conditions.


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