A youth who broke parole after filming his ‘stomach-twisting’ attack on a vulnerable Dublin man has been given a chance to get back on the ‘straight and narrow track’.
The Ublin Children’s Court heard the victim, who is in his 60s with an acquired brain injury, was “effectively a prisoner of this young man for three days”.
Last year, the now 17-year-old boy became involved with the probation service and spent months dealing with his drug problems.
In November, Judge Paul Kelly, armed with updated opinions, handed the teenager a 12-month suspended sentence.
Judge Kelly heard that although the youth has not attracted further attention from the Garda, he has ceased his cooperation. Last month, the parole service re-entered the case.
There was worsening behavior at home, significant cannabis abuse and participation in a project to support young offenders.
However, after learning that the case would be reopened, he began looking back at the services.
Judge Kelly was told the boy had given him a “significant opportunity” and warned he now faces a “much more uncomfortable” alternative.
Today he found the boy’s parole officer was seeking more time to prepare an updated report for the court.
Detective Sergeant Derek McGrath said it appears to have been an aberration, adding: “Hopefully he can get back on track.”
Judge Kelly adjourned the case until June, saying the teenager appears to be on the right track but that he needs to stay put and work with various agencies that are helping him.
The horrific incident took place over three days, from February 28 to March 1, 2020, at the man’s home on Dublin 4.
The then 15-year-old boy was arrested after his horrified mother searched his phone. She found video clips of her son recording him repeatedly attacking his victim.
The man was punched and kicked 13 times in the head and body, causing a brain hemorrhage. It left him too scared to go home.
Det Sgt McGrath told Judge Kelly that in the early hours of March 1, 2020, officers searched for two youths who were reported missing.
Over a 12-month period, the teens had become friends with the man, who has been described as trustworthy and vulnerable due to a brain injury he suffered as a child.
Gardaí on patrol spotted the victim out walking and asked him about the boys, but he denied knowing about them and insisted he had to go to a local ATM.
Gardaí took him to the ATM but became concerned about dried blood on his face and they questioned him.
He then told them that three youths were in his home and had refused to leave. One fled when Gardaí got there.
Two boys, including the accused, were taken home.
The defendant’s mother then searched her son’s phone and found video clips. Horrified by the contents, his family took the phone to Gardaí.
The videos were played in court.
The first showed a co-defendant demanding money from the man.
The defendant spoke to the victim and subjected him to punches and kicks while he was sitting in his chair or pounding on the floor.
In footage described by the judge as “stomach churning,” the man pleaded, “Please don’t hit me.”
A co-defendant begged the boy to stop, “that’s enough,” but the youth told his accomplice to “shut up,” calling him a “faggot.”
The co-accused told him: “You will kill him, his eyes will bleed, you are a killer.”
The victim begged “please” before being kicked again.
The boy continued to attack the man, who suffered a series of kicks to the face as he tried to get up.
The incidents began Friday night and continued into the early hours of Sunday morning. On the first night, the boys received 50 euros from the victim. After that, they had a pizza delivered, then went to buy cannabis and returned.
Det Sgt McGrath said the victim has recovered from his physical injuries.
He also agreed with defense attorney Brian Keenan that when questioned, the boy accepted that he had taken his anger out on the victim.
Mr Keenan asked the judge to note that the boy had previously been diagnosed with anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He was not taking the medication at the time of the crime.
He had been in the grips of a significant cannabis addiction. Those two factors played a key role, Mr Keenan said.
The boy had once been taken to an inpatient treatment center for his cannabis problem.
The judge was told that he had no excuse for his actions and was ashamed and apologized.
Psychiatric reports were presented to the court and his mother told the court that her son had attended a psychiatric service but had slipped into depression.
His co-defendant’s case awaits closure.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/teen-who-repeatedly-punched-and-kicked-vulnerable-man-in-stomach-churning-attack-which-left-him-with-bleed-on-brain-is-given-second-chance-41546965.html Teen who repeatedly punched and kicked a vulnerable man in a “stomach churning” attack that left him bleeding in the brain is given a second chance