Shocking attack | 

Dublin man (28) admits striking teen boy in the head with baseball bat four times

Anthony Byrne (28) struck the boy full force on the left side of his face as he sat waiting for his friend

Anthony Byrne (28)

Anthony Byrne (28)© Paddy Cummins -

Anthony Byrne (28)© Paddy Cummins -

Eimear DoddSunday World

A man who attacked a teenage boy with a baseball bat will be sentenced later this year.

Anthony Byrne (28) of Pine Road, Dublin 4, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to a then 16-year-old boy on January 4, 2022, at Camden Lock, Ringsend, Dublin 4.

At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Judge Orla Crowe said the court considered this to be a “very serious matter” as “ a child sitting on steps was attacked by a grown man”.

Judge Crowe said it is “not normal behaviour to go out and attack a child with a baseball bat”. She adjourned the case until June 6 for the preparation of a probation report, including a risk assessment.

In his victim impact statement, the boy said he feels “fearful and worried” that something similar could happen again. He said he had spent hours going over the incident, wondering if he could have done something different.

The boy said, “the pain of feeling powerless and weak” was more profound than the physical pain of that night. The injured party said that as a child, he'd thought that this type of incident only happened in action movies or TV shows.

Anthony Byrne (28)© Paddy Cummins -

The investigating garda told Monica Leech BL, prosecuting, that around 10.15 pm, the boy entered the communal area of Camden Lock to meet a friend who lived there. He then sat on a set of steps to wait.

The victim heard Byrne shouting at him, “what you doing in my garden?”. Byrne continued to shout as he came towards the victim, who was sitting across from Byrne's residence. The boy noticed Byrne was holding a black baton but remained sitting.

Byrne struck the boy full force on the left side of his face. The victim headed towards the estate entrance to get away, but Byrne struck him on the head with the baton four times.

The boy had his left hand raised to try to block the strikes. Byrne also hit the boy on the legs. The boy managed to leave when the estate gates opened and took a taxi home.

After returning home, the boy was taken to St Vincent's Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries, which included a swollen lip, a fracture to his left middle finger and bruising to his legs. Photos and a medical report were handed into the court. The boy also required surgery on his finger.

Gardai identified Byrne as a suspect from CCTV. A search warrant was obtained, and a baseball bat was found inside the house. CCTV was played for the court.

Byrne was arrested and admitted to assaulting the victim. He told gardai that he believed someone was in the garden, and he wanted to protect his partner and children. When shown the CCTV, Byrne accepted this was not the case and apologised. Byrne has three previous convictions, including two for minor drug offences.

Anthony Byrne (28)© Paddy Cummins -

The investigating garda agreed with Patrick McCarthy BL, defending, that his client's property is at the edge of the gated estate and adjourns the public path. She accepted that the boy didn't have an access fob and instead used Byrne's wall and shed to enter the communal area.

Mr McCarthy put it to the garda that Byrne opened the gate to let the victim leave, and she agreed.

His client misread the situation and reacted in an “extremely inappropriate” manner which “came from a misplaced attempt to protect his family”, the defence counsel said. His client genuinely thought someone was in the garden to burglarise the property, and it is a worry for him as it has happened before.

Byrne co-operated with gardai and made full admissions. A letter of apology from Byrne was handed to the court along with references from family members.

Defence counsel said his client is a family man with two children. He works as a plumber, and a letter from his employer was handed to the court. His client would be willing to work with the Probation Service and he asked the court to consider a suspended sentence.

Judge Crowe said the court is concerned that two of Byrne's previous convictions post-date this incident. She said that while Byrne may have believed someone trespassed on his property, this wasn't the case, and it was evident that this incident had affected the victim.

Judge Crowe also directed gardai to enquire with the victim if he wished to accept the apology or receive the letter of apology from Byrne.

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