This week, a court heard that a teen who has been charged over a suspected homophobic attack has left the country despite the ongoing trial.
On August 18 last year, Mark Sheehan, a 26-year-old man, was assaulted by a gang of young men while on a Dublin Bus. Sheehan and his friends were travelling home after a night out in The George when he was targeted in the brutal attack and subjected to homophobic slurs.
The assault left Sheehan badly injured and led to his hospitalisation at Tallaght University Hospital. After the event, several TDs urged the government to establish a dedicated Garda transport unit to protect people using public transport at night.
Following the assault, the Gardaí opened an investigation and a teen was later charged in relation to the homophobic attack. The 17-year-old, who cannot be named since he is still a minor, was charged with assault causing harm over the incident and appeared before the Dublin Children’s Court last November.
The case was adjourned for ten weeks after bail with conditions was set in his bond of €200. Under the bail conditions, the teen was supposed to obey a curfew from midnight to 6am and to sign on twice-weekly at Rathmines Garda station. He also was prohibited from having any contact with the complainant, including via social media, while he waited to return to court to face the next stage of the proceedings against him.
This week, a preliminary hearing took place to determine whether the teen would be tried in the Children’s Court or in the Circuit Court, which has wider sentencing powers. However, the court was informed by defence counsel Doireann McDonagh that the minor was not present at the hearing because he had left the country. Judge Paul Kelly concluded the hearing by issuing a bench warrant for his arrest.
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