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Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie
Crime

Attack on lesbian couple in Dublin city called "shocking" by judge

A garda told the court that the incident had been recorded as a hate crime.

A JUDGE HAS described the victim impact statements shown to him after a teenager’s “rage-filled” and suspected hate attack on a lesbian couple as “shocking”.

The boy, now 17, attacked the couple after seeing them cuddling at a bus shelter in Dublin.

The youth, who cannot be identified because he is a minor, appeared again at the Dublin Children’s Court yesterday. He had earlier pleaded guilty to assault causing harm, and will be sentenced later.

The couple were not known to the boy, then 15, who was reportedly under the influence of drugs. He reportedly used a homophobic slur and suddenly launched an attack and repeatedly punched them.

They were not required to attend the hearing yesterday.

However, Garda Declan Phelan furnished Judge Paul Kelly and the defence with copies of their impact statements.

Kelly described them as “pretty shocking” and ordered the defence barrister to go through them “in some detail” with the defendant.

The boy, who did not address the court, was accompanied to the hearing by his mother and a grandparent.

Kelly adjourned sentencing for updated probation, restorative justice, and community service assessment reports to be prepared.

The defendant will appear again in 12 weeks.

Earlier, the court had heard that the couple had been waiting for a bus with plans to attend a National College of Art and Design presentation.

The boy and a man approached the shelter and one of the victims later described in her statement how the teen “made himself big and screamed in her face”.

He went away but walked back and shouted a homophobic slur, before striking the first victim “with a closed fist punch”.

He shouted in her face and hit her multiple times as she tried to fend him off, when the man got involved and allegedly hit her from behind.

The second victim tried to separate them, and the boy “turned his focus on her”, striking her multiple times “with a flurry of punches to her face and head”.

Phelan said that the victims were an openly gay couple and believed the motive for the assault was because of their sexuality.

They suspected the boy targeted them because they had displayed affection by “kissing and cuddling in the shelter” beforehand.

The garda referred to the homophobic slur and added that the incident was categorised as a hate crime on the Garda system.

The court heard that the boy and the man then left but were captured on CCTV; the incident happened in broad daylight on a busy street, and the accused was on bail for another offence.

Independent witnesses came forward, with one describing the attack as “rage-filled”, and another recalled one of the victims shouting “help me”.

A passer-by said the teen was “flailing” at them. The defence said the boy was under the influence of drugs at the time.

Phelan said the boy was the “main aggressor”, and the incident lasted less than a minute.

He could not agree the incident was drug-fuelled and that he could not get into the mind of the accused.

Shortly after the incident, a friend set up a GoFundMe collection to help the victims with their medical bills. It was closed after raising €13,071 in less than 24 hours, with excess donations going to charities.

Photos of their injuries and a medical report were handed into court. One victim suffered bruising to her neck, arms, and hand, while her partner had soft tissue injuries, a black eye, and swollen lips.

The court has heard that the teenager had experienced turmoil in his family life connected to parental alcoholism and drug use.

Background issues and medical problems also had an impact on his level of maturity, the defence submitted.

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