Newcastle West Courthouse
FOUR teenagers attacked and kicked another youth in the Town Park in Croom last year because the youth had earlier refused to buy alcohol for them in the local supermarket.
The four, who were charged with violent disorder, cannot be named for legal reasons because they were all under 18 when the incident took place on May 30 last year.
Garda Rob Sheehy said that on that date, Jason Kelly was asked to buy alcohol by a group of youths at the entrance to the supermarket and when he refused, he was verbally abused.
Mr Kelly went with his brother and a friend to the park but CCTV showed he was followed by the four who then approached them as they sat on a bench.
Teenager 1 asked Mr Kelly why he had refused to buy alcohol for them but before he could answer, Teenager 1 knocked him to the ground. “He was set upon by the four,” the garda said, naming the defendants.
Mr Kelly was kicked in the upper body and head area, Garda Sheehy continued. One female witness to the incident told gardai Mr Kelly was kicked six or seven times and then a further 10 or 11 times.
Her two children also witnessed the incident, the garda said. The park was extremely busy at the time.
“All admitted they kicked Mr Kelly on the ground,” Garda Sheehy said. Mr Kelly suffered cuts and bruises but declined to make a victim impact statement.
Pleading for Teenager 1, who was the first to hit Mr Kelly and kicked him a number of times, solicitor Michael O'Donnell said it was “out of character” for him.
“Obviously, there is no justification, It was totally out of order and unwarranted,” he said. Drink had been involved. “He was 17 at the time. I ask you to deal with him as a juvenile.”
Pleading for Teenager 2, who did his Leaving Cert in June, solicitor John Lynch said he had kicked Mr Kelly once in the backside. His client was active in sports and was now doing an apprenticeship.
He had saved up €1,200 over the summer and was offering it as compensation, the solicitor said. “You might consider probation or put him under supervision for 12 months,” Mr Lynch said.
Solicitor Con Barry, pleading for Teenager 3, said the probation report which had been submitted to court, was a “mixed bag”, with “some positives” and “one or two negatives”.
He outlined his client’s difficult upbringing and background and pointed out that he had engaged with different peer groups in Limerick city and gone down the wrong road.
However, he said, his client, who is in a juvenile detention centre for another offence, had attended 14 sessions of a Restorative Justice Programme.
He was also attending classes in the detention centre and availing of all the supports. “He is doing his best,” Mr Barry said.
The fourth teenager was not in court.
Judge Carol Anne Coolican ordered probation reports to be drawn up for Teenagers 1 and 2 and an update of the probation report for Teenager 3.
The matter comes back into court on November 2.
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