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strict conditions Man who punched 14-year-old boy in the street avoids jail

The boy required stiches to his face after being punched by Gray (25)

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Damien Gray, pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

Damien Gray, pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

Damien Gray, pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

A man who punched a 14-year old boy on the street has received a fully suspended sentence.

Damien Gray (25) had attended the funeral of a friend earlier in the day and assaulted the child after words were exchanged between them.

Gray of The Kiln, Railway Street, Dublin City centre, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm at James Joyce Street, Dublin City centre, on March 28, 2018. He has 71 previous convictions, including convictions for violent disorder and theft.

Passing sentence today, Judge Melanie Greally said the assault was not “particularly lengthy”, but had a quite significant impact on the victim both in terms of the physical injury and the psychological impact.

The judge said Gray has engaged well with the Probation Service to the extent that his probation officer indicated he seems to have changed his attitude towards offending behaviour. She said she would give the accused a chance.

Judge Greally sentenced Gray to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for nine months and that the sum of €1,200 be paid over to the victim or to a charity should he decline to accept it.

Garda Nicola Tornsey told Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that on the night in question, the 14-year old boy was returning to the hotel where he lived with his mother after spending the day with his friends.

Gda Tornsey said that Gray said something as the boy and his friends passed them on the street. The boy told Gray to shut his mouth and called him a “fool”.

Gray came towards the boy, taking off his jacket as he ran, and punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground. The boy was later brought to hospital where he received stitches to his face.

Gda Tornsey agreed with Simon Matthews BL, defending, that his client claimed the boy said something about him getting stabbed and he took exception to this as he had been stabbed previously.

The garda agreed with counsel that Gray had attended the funeral of a friend on the same date and had been drinking in a nearby pub prior to the assault.

Mr Matthews said his client wished to apologise to the victim. He said his client had €1,200 with him in court as compensation for the victim.

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