CCTV footage emerged of a 17-year-old girl at Howth junction station falling between the platform and a stationary train on April 1 last year. She was helped up by her friends and staff.
Investigating gardai obtained directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and charged three youths aged 17 with violent disorder. One of them had an additional charge for assault causing harm to the girl; his case has been separated and sent forward to the Circuit Court for trial.
Judge Paul Kelly held the two other boys had peripheral roles, and he accepted jurisdiction for their cases to remain in the Dublin Children's Court.
They pleaded not guilty, and the case went to a full hearing.
The prosecution had video footage from the station's CCTV system, a security guard's body cam, and evidence from a second teenage girl who interacted with the group.
The court heard gardai identified the pair with the help of confidential information from the public.
Judge Kelly was told security guards put a group of about 10 youths off a train due to anti-social behaviour complaints. However, they were still on the platform as some girls came and tried to catch the train.
One of the 17-year-old boys swung his foot at a girl from his bike, making contact with her head.
In evidence, she described it as "daunting", and she said, "one of them lunged at me".
That happened shortly before a related incident in which a second teenage girl was knocked head-first from the platform under the stationary train.
An OCS security man raised the alarm with the train driver and pulled that girl back onto the platform.
Defence solicitor Michael Byrne sought a dismissal on the grounds of lack of evidence that they used or threatened to use violence which would cause a person to fear for their or others' safety.
However, state solicitor Mairead White submitted that there was evidence supporting the charge, which established the youths acted together and it was a “joint enterprise”.
Judge Kelly held that there was a clear threat of violence. Furthermore, he said the footage showed lunging, an attempt to "body-check", several of the group making gestures, and one of the boys made physical contact with the witness as she tried to get to the train.
He noted the evidence of a security guard that the group was “intimidating people”.
Video evidence showed them hurriedly fleeing the station.
The court heard gardai searched the two boys’ homes and recovered clothing.
Garda Kevin O’Boyle said the incident attracted media attention. As a result, "a lot of information came to the Garda confidential information line" from people “reluctant to give statements”.
One of the boys interviewed by gardai identified himself in the video evidence holding an electric bike. When gardai asked him why he left after the girl fell off the platform, he replied, "I felt bad I didn't help her; I was in shock."
“In situations like that, you just walk away. You don't get involved," he added.
Neither youth gave evidence during the hearing. They cannot be named because they are minors.
Judge Kelly noted they had no prior criminal convictions and he adjourned sentencing them for preparation of probation reports. The case resumes in June.
The boys, accompanied to the hearing by family members, have been ordered to obey bail conditions.