'not deliberate' | 

Man assaulted boy (14) after wrongly accusing him of starting beach fire

Darragh Kirk (31) ‘took the law into his own hands’ when he quizzed the two boys, the court heard.
Darragh Kirk

Darragh Kirk

Nicola Donnelly

A MAN who assaulted a 14-year-old boy and stole his bicycle because he wrongly believed the boy and his friend lit a fire on a beach has been convicted and fined €750.

Darragh Kirk (31) ‘took the law into his own hands’ when he quizzed the two boys, who told him they didn’t light the fire.

He then took one of the boy’s bikes and told the boys he was bringing it to a garda station so the boys “would go there to explain their actions,” a court has heard.

While Kirk was attempting to move the bike, he swung it around and accidentally hit the boy in the face with it.

The boy suffered a nose bleed and a 2mm laceration to his left eye as a result.

Kirk, who immediately regretted his actions when he arrived at Balbriggan Garda Station, said he shouldn’t have taken the bike and he did not deliberately hit the boy with it, Balbriggan District Court heard.

The defendant, of Hampton Cove, Balbriggan, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to assaulting the boy causing him harm and to the theft of the bicycle at Barnageeragh Beach in Skerries, Co Dublin on August 12, 2020.

He has no previous convictions.

Defence solicitor Siobhan MacNeilis said the defendant thought he was acting as a responsible citizen.

He alleged the boys started the fire but they told him they didn’t.

“He shouldn’t have taken the bike and the injuries caused were absolutely accidental and not deliberate,” said Ms MacNeilis.

“He is extremely remorseful and his actions on the day were very much out of character,” the solicitor said, adding the defendant has €2,000 in compensation for the boy.

However, Judge Sandra Murphy said the compensation element does not concern her and if he wishes to give it to the boy that is up to him.

“It wasn’t up to him to take the law into his own hands,” said Judge Murphy and convicted and fined him €750 for the assault.

The charge of the theft of the bike was taken into consideration.

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