Two teenage girls who attacked a couple defending their gay son from homophobic abuse have been spared criminal records and sentences.
Last week Dublin Children’s Court heard that a group of 15 teenagers congregated outside the couple’s house and began abusing their son, who is gay. When the mother told the group that her son’s sexuality wasn’t an issue for her she was set upon by two teenage girls, while a third stubbed a cigarette out on her face.
Her husband was also assaulted and knocked unconscious by some of the assembled teens, who also vandalised his car.
The teens – aged 16 and 17 – admitted to being drunk on alcopops and vodka at the time of the attack. They were found guilty of committing a violent disorder.
Judge John O’Connor ordered two of the girls to write letters of apologies to the couple, which were then read to the court, reports The Irish Times.
“I have talked with my parents on the dangers of under-age consumption of alcohol, and this combined with gang mentality that led to the situation that arose that night. No family should have to go through what you did,” said one of the girls.
Both girls apologised for their behaviour and assured the couple that they were not homophobic.
“I was only thinking of myself and having a good time,” read the second teen’s letter. “The event later that night made me realise how quickly a situation can turn into a nightmare not only for me but for innocent people as well.”
Judge O’Connor told the court that he was satisfied that the girls’ behaviour was “out of character” and that they were unlikely to appear before the courts again. He then struck out the cases, which spared the teens criminal records and custodial terms.
A third teenage girl, who stubbed a cigarette out on the woman’s face, will be sentenced in April.
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