Hike sentence

Teenager avoids jail time after girl fell headfirst under dart

A Dublin teenager has been spared a custodial sentence for an ‘intimidating’ incident which resulted in a teenage girl being run over headfirst under a Dart train.

The 17-year-old, who admitted his presence was intimidating, was released today after six months on supervised probation.

CCTV footage has emerged of a 17-year-old girl at Howth Junction station falling between the platform and a stationary train on April 1 last year. She was helped back onto the platform by her friends and staff.

Investigating Gardai obtained instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and charged three 17-year-olds with violent disorder. One had an additional charge of assault causing damage to the girl who was knocked off the platform; his case was severed and returned to the Circuit Court for trial.

Judge Paul Kelly found the other two boys had peripheral roles and he accepted jurisdiction to keep their cases in Dublin Children’s Court.

They pleaded not guilty and were found guilty after the case was heard earlier this month.

The prosecution had video footage from the station’s CCTV system, a security guard’s body camera and evidence from a second teenage girl who interacted with the group.

The court heard Gardai identify them using confidential public information.

“Intimidating”

Judge Kelly was told security had removed a group of around 10 young people from a train due to complaints of anti-social behaviour.

One of the 17-year-old boys swung his foot at a girl from her bike, making contact with her head.

She described it as “intimidating” and “one of them pounced on me”.

It happened shortly before a related incident in which a second teenage girl was knocked head-first off the platform under the stationary train.

An OCS security officer alerted the train driver and brought this girl back to the platform.

State’s Attorney Mairead White argued that the evidence supported the charge, established that the youths acted together and constituted a “joint enterprise”.

Judge Kelly ruled there was a clear threat of violence, and the footage also showed sudden movements, an attempt to ‘body check’, several gesturing and one of the youths making physical contact with the witness as she tried to get to the train.

He noted testimony from a security guard that the group was “intimidating people”.

Video evidence showed them hurriedly fleeing the station.

“Reluctant”

The court heard Gardai searched the two boys’ homes and recovered clothes. Garda Kevin O’Boyle they were identified as a result of media attention. He added that a lot of information has come to the confidential Garda information line from people “reluctant to make statements”.

Judge Kelly noted that they had no previous criminal convictions.

One of the boys interviewed by Gardai identified himself in the video evidence holding an electric bicycle. When Gardai asked him why he left after the girl fell off the platform, he replied, “I felt bad for not helping her; I was in shock.”

“In situations like this, you just walk away. You don’t get involved,” he said. However, he admitted that the group probably bullied others.

Today the probation service provided the court with a pre-sentence report on this youngster. Defense lawyer Aonghus McCarthy asked the judge to note that he tested positive and that his client had a job.

Judge Kelly imposed a bond of six months. The adolescent must continue to accept the advice of the service to dissuade him from recidivism; otherwise, gardai could reenter the case, and he could face a more severe sanction.

The conviction of the co-defendant, who swung his foot at the girl’s head, was adjourned for a month.

Reporting by Tom Tuite

Follow @98FM online for all the latest news