An attack on a lesbian couple, which took place in Dublin last year and has been investigated by Gardaí as a hate crime, was described as “shocking” by a judge after new documents were presented at a hearing on Wednesday, September 6.
According to what court reporter Tom Tuite wrote for The Journal, the 16-year-old suspect in the case appeared again at the Dublin Children’s Court yesterday. Earlier in July, the suspect, who cannot be identified since he is a minor, pled guilty to assault causing harm in relation to an incident that took place in May 2022 at Drumcondra Road Upper, Dublin.
In that episode, 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.
At a previous hearing, Garda Declan Phelan told the court that Gardaí believed that the motive for the assault was related to the couple’s sexuality. Phelan said that they suspect that the teenager attacked them because he saw them openly display affection. He cited the derogatory terms used against the Dublin lesbian couple and stated that the incident had been recorded by Gardaí as a hate crime.
The minor did not address the court at yesterday’s hearing and was accompanied by his mother and a grandparent. The two victims were not required to attend the hearing. However, Garda Phelan furnished the court and the defence with copies of the victim impact statements, i.e. documents that allow judges to hear how a criminal action has affected the victims.
After reviewing the documents, the District Court President, Judge Paul Kelly, described them as “pretty shocking”. The judge then ordered the defence barrister to go through the impact statements “in some detail” with the defendant.
The court also heard that the minor had experienced turmoil in the family relating to alcohol and drug abuse. Moreover, the defence submitted that background issues and medical problems also had an impact on the suspect’s level of maturity.
The sentencing was adjourned so that updated probation, restorative justice and community service assessment reports can be prepared. The teenager will appear again before the court in 12 weeks.
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