Both boys have no previous convictions and have not come to garda attention since this incident
The two boys and the victim are all now aged 17 and nobody cannot be identified because they are legally minors.
The first boy pleaded guilty attempted oral rape, four counts of sexual assault and one count of assault causing harm on February 6, 2020 at a location in Co. Limerick. He had just turned 15 at the time of the offending.
The second boy, then aged 14, pleaded guilty to attempted oral rape and four counts of sexual assault on the same date. The victim was 14 at the time of the incident.
Both boys have no previous convictions and have not come to garda attention since this incident.
Imposing sentence at the Central Criminal Court heard today, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said these were “very serious” offences.
Mr Justice McDermott the victim was subjected to an “awful experience” which can cause lasting damage.
He noted that the victim had not submitted a victim impact statement and was not present in court.
However, she is “entitled to protection”, Mr Justice McDermott added.
He said there was a “very nasty element” to the offending as the boys had tried to “trap the girl” and force her to engage by taking her phone. When this approach did not work, violence was used.
Mr Justice McDermott said this showed a “lack of respect” for the girl, her rights and her dignity.
“She is entitled to say no”, he added.
Mr Justice McDermott said there were “very serious” elements to this case including the theft of her phone which was a “cynical and nasty thing to do” to try to get her to submit to their wishes. When this did not work, they turned to violence and intimidation.
The boys “did not accept no as her legitimate answer”. The two accused had acted jointly by “ganging up” on the victim in what were “clearly acts of a deliberate nature”.
Setting a headline sentence of six years detention, Mr Justice McDermott indicated he would impose a sentence of nine years on an adult for this “serious” offending.
Mr Justice McDermott noted the mitigating factors include the boys' guilty pleas, their expressions of remorse and their young age.
Adjourning the case to December 9 for finalisation, Mr Justice McDermott ordered the Probation Service to outline a possible structure for engagement with the boys.
He indicated he intends to impose a three-year period of detention, with 16 months to be served in custody and the balance to be suspended on full.
The court heard that the two boys and the victim were part of a group of teenagers who were hanging out together in the hours before this incident took place.
After some of this group went home, the first boy took the victim's phone and threatened to smash it unless she gave him oral sex. The first boy then ran away and the victim followed to retrieve her phone.
During the assault, the victim's hair was pulled by the first boy and she was pushed to the ground repeatedly by both boys. The victim was also trapped between both of the boys who made several attempts to pull her pants down and touch her genital area.
At one point, the first boy grabbed her hands, while the second boy attempted to pull down her pants. The victim resisted, kicking her legs and managed to get one of her hands free.
Both of the accused made several requests to the victim for oral sex during the incident, which she refused. They both also exposed themselves to the victim at different times during the incident.
The two boys eventually returned the victim's phone and left the scene. The victim then went to a friend's house, and told her what happened. She later told her parents, who contacted gardai.
CCTV footage obtained from the scene was played to the court.
Gardai obtained search warrants for the homes of both of the accused. Their phones were seized, but nothing of evidential value was found.
The two boys were interviewed in the presence of a family member. Both admitted that they had taken the victim's phone and made requests for oral sex, which she refused.
The first boy admitted to gardai he made around ten requests for oral sex, exposed himself twice and attempted to put his penis in the victim's mouth. He told gardai that he had attempted to sexually assault the victim, and said he was ashamed of his actions.
The second accused admitted to asking the victim for oral sex and that he had pushed her head towards the ground. He told gardai that he was ashamed of his actions, which were wrong.
The court heard that the victim had not made a victim impact statement and had decided not to attend the hearing. The first accused lives with a relative, as both of his parents are deceased.
The second accused boy lives with his family, and has three informal cautions for minor offences under the Juvenile Diversion Programme.
The investigating garda agreed with defence counsel for the first boy that his client had made full admissions, and shown genuine remorse when interviewed. He also agreed that the victim accepts the boy's remorse is genuine.
His client also told gardai that his actions were “disgraceful” and the boy had not wanted to watch the CCTV footage due to shame.
The investigating garda agreed with defence counsel for the second boy that his client had admitted his behaviour was unacceptable and wrong. His client had shown genuine remorse when interviewed by gardai.
His client is from a “decent, hardworking” family who are shocked by his actions.
Mr Justice McDermott said both of the accused had demonstrated that they had reflected on their actions and now realise it was “appalling and disgraceful behaviour”.
Addressing both of the accused, Mr Justice McDermott said attempted oral rape is a “serious form of assault” and adults can face life imprisonment for this offence.
He noted that sexual assault is also a serious crime, but “even more serious” in this instance as the victim is a child.