17-year-old sentenced to community service for attack on Dublin lesbian couple

The youth who carried out the attack on a Dublin lesbian couple must complete 160 hours of work or face a four-month term in custody.

This article is about the sentencing in relation to an attack on a Dublin lesbian couple. In the photo, a courtroom with a microphones and chairs.
Image: Via Shutterstock - Salivanchuk Semen

A 17-year-old who last year carried out an attack on a lesbian couple in Dublin, which Gardaí classified as a hate crime, has been sentenced to community service.

At a hearing in July 2023, the teenager pleaded guilty to assault causing harm in relation to a crime that took place in May 2022 at Drumcondra Road Upper, Dublin. In that incident, the youth, who was unknown to the victims, approached the pair after seeing them cuddle at a bus shelter. He initially used homophobic slurs against them and then repeatedly punched them while allegedly under the influence of drugs.

An adult man also got involved in the attack, allegedly hitting one of the victims from behind. The scene happened in broad daylight on a busy street and was captured on CCTV. The adult is now awaiting a separate trial.

During the July hearing, Garda Declan Phelan told the court that Gardaí believed that the motive for the assault was related to the couple’s sexuality. Phelan cited the derogatory terms used against the Dublin lesbian couple and stated that the attack had been recorded by Gardaí as a hate crime.

According to court reporter Tom Tuite, the sentencing on the case took place on Wednesday, November 29, when the 17-year-old appeared again at the Dublin Children’s Court. The two victims of the attack were not required to attend the hearing, but a person represented them and read their impact statements before the court.

The victim impact statements were also opened to the attacker during his engagement with the Probation Service and a restorative justice project. The youth had been placed on supervised probation because he had 12 convictions on his criminal record for offences between 2020 and May 2022, including eight robberies, a burglary and trespass.

Defence counsel Grace Sullivan told the court that since July the youth had positively engaged with the Probation Service and restorative justice programme, as a pre-sentence report showed. The court also heard that the 17-year-old was a “different young man to the one the court dealt with earlier this year”, as he had quit drugs and was attending a training course and getting regular work.

The teen also spoke to the court during the sentencing hearing, talking about his work and training course, as well as his intention to write a letter of apology to the lesbian couple.

During the sentencing, Judge Paul Kelly said that the defendant had inflicted “horrible injuries”, with one of the two victims needing five months to recover. He also noted that the attack “has affected how they behave in public, and that is extremely unacceptable.”

The 17-year-old must now agree to complete 160 hours of work or face a four-month term in custody. Judge Kelly told him he was “very lucky to be walking out here today”.

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