'Gay bash' teenager sent to Circuit Court

‘Gay bash’ teenager sent to Circuit Court
05/02/2008 – 15:13:00

A teenager arrested for attacking a man and woman whom he mistook for two gay men, was today served with a book of evidence.

Judge Ann Ryan then made an order sending the case forward to the present term of the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Thinking the couple were men because of the woman’s hair style, he attacked them on one of Dublin’s busiest streets calling them f**king gay bastards, the Children’s Court had heard previously.

The west Dublin 16-year-old boy has been charged with assaulting the man and assault causing harm to the woman, on Middle Abbey Street, on the evening of January 26 last year.

In November, Judge Ryan held that the case was too serious to be dealt with in the Children’s Court and should be sent to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, which can impose lengthier sentences.

The teen, who was accompanied to court by his parents, was today granted legal aid and remanded on bail.

Outlining the allegations, Garda Jamie Jordan of Store Street station had said the teen approached the man and woman.

He asked are you two gay guys’ and hit the man on his face and knocked him to the ground. He attacked the woman and threw her to the ground and kicked her in the back and stomach. He then jumped on the man’s back.

When the woman, who had been repeatedly kicked, got to her feet, her face was punched. She suffered bruising but both she and her boyfriend made a full recovery.

Earlier the court had also heard that the comments made about them being gay men arose from the woman’s hair style and during the attack the boy still thought she was a man.

Throughout the attack he made similar derogatory comments something like f**king gay bastards’, the court had been told.

Defence solicitor Michelle Finan had told Judge Ryan that the boy had never been in trouble before. She said he was admitting attacking the couple after he got heavily intoxicated.

He had been brought out with an adult family friend to go on a day trip but instead the woman took him drinking which led to him getting heavily inebriated.

Judge Ryan had said these factors could be submitted to the Circuit Court judge in mitigating pleas at the teen’s sentence hearing.

When the judge had earlier asked if more than one person had been involved in the attack, the boy had replied No, just me.

[My comment on Circuit Court referral: This a a huge sea-change from some of the early cases of gay bashing that came before the Irish courts, including a notorious gay bashing in Dublin 1983 where on convictions for crimes that resulted in the death of the victim, Declan Flynn, the guilty men were released without serving any jail time. See: http://www.tribune.

Children’s Court = District Court for trying minors]

Cathal Kelly

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