CW: Graphic content depicting homophobia and physical violence.
A 16-year-old has pleaded guilty to assault causing harm in relation to an attack on a lesbian couple in Dublin last year, which Gardaí are treating as a hate crime.
The teenager, who cannot be identified given that he is a minor, appeared before the Dublin Children’s Court yesterday, July 5. He admitted to carrying out what has been described as a “rage-filled” assault on the couple at Drumcondra Road Upper on May 16, 2022.
According to what court reporter Tom Tuite wrote for the Irish Examiner, the pair was unknown to the 16-year-old, who attacked after seeing them cuddle at a bus shelter. He first used homophobic slurs against them and then repeatedly punched them in the face.
An adult man also got involved in attack, allegedly hitting one of the victims from behind. However, the court heard that the teenager was the “main aggressor” and the adult is awaiting a separate trial in the Circuit Court.
The suspected hate crime against the couple took place in broad daylight on a busy Dublin street, and when the teenager and the man left after the assault, they were captured on CCTV.
According to what Garda Declan Phelan told the court, Gardaí believe 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 couple and stated that the incident has been recorded by Gardaí as a hate crime.
Other witnesses were also present in court, with one of them referring to the assault as “rage-filled”. Another said they heard the victims shouting for help, while a passerby described what was happening by saying that the teenager was “flailing” at the couple.
The court also heard that the teenager was on bail for another offence and that he had experienced “turmoil in his family life connected to parental alcoholism and drug use”.
District Court president Judge Paul Kelly adjourned the sentencing on the case to September, pending the preparation of victim impact statements and probation report of the accused.
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