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Teenager (15) who allegedly stabbed woman he met on social media app refused bail for fourth time

A garda testified that he feared the teen would be “likely to commit murder if released”.

Queen's Road, Dun Laoghaire
Queen's Road, Dun Laoghaire
Image: Google Maps

THERE WAS NO alternative to a juvenile detention centre to hold a 15-year-old Dublin boy accused of a serious knife attack on a woman in Dun Laoghaire, a court has heard.

The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, had been refused bail on 26 December after a garda testified that he feared the teen would be “likely to commit murder if released”.

The teen faced his fourth hearing when he appeared before Judge John O’Connor at the Dublin Children’s Court today  and was further remanded in custody to appear again in two weeks.

He is charged with assault causing harm to the woman and production of a knife during the alleged assault at the baths, Queens Road, Dun Laoghaire on 23 December . He has not yet indicated how he will plead and the court has heard that further charges will be brought.

The woman, who is 25 and of Irish-Malaysian descent, was found near the baths at around 3.20pm on the date of the incident. She was hospitalised with serious injuries including a horizontal lacerations to her neck.

The court had initially ordered that the boy was to receive Assessment Consultation Therapy Service (ACTS) while in custody at the Oberstown detention centre. Two weeks ago, the judge had asked Professor Harry Kennedy to attend the next hearing to see if there was a suitable alternative facility.

Kennedy is a forensic psychiatrist and a director of the Central Mental Hospital and had been consulted but was not at the proceedings when they resumed today.

Judge John O’Connor stressed that the court needed to have a reason for the teenager to remain in custody. He told the defence solicitor that he had suggested that Kennedy attend because a report would not be sufficient.

He referred to guiding principles in Irish law, the 2001 Children Act, as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which state that detention has to be a last resort. Pre-trial detention was also the strictest form of detention, he said.

He also said that detention in the Children’s Court could not be used for welfare purposes and he did not want a situation where the prosecution and defence were using the criminal justice system “as a stop-gap for something else”. He said that the Oberstown facility was not a respite centre.

He repeatedly remarked that he was not getting any information.

At the previous hearing on 11 January, he had indicated that he would possibly consider bail based on psychiatric evidence. Defence solicitor Aisling Mulligan said that this continued to be discussed as the case progresses. A psychiatrist had been consulted and that had led to no bail application, she said.

The defence said their concern was that the information that the court would hear in evidence was not going to achieve the aim the court was seeking

The judge said he had been put in a very unusual situation. He said, “if there are psychiatric issues which could be dealt with elsewhere whether voluntary or involuntary, that is the place for him”.

Mulligan said the teen is undergoing treatment and the parents had “severe concerns for his personal safety”.

She said that if there was an alternative option, it would be brought to the judge’s attention, however, she added, “sadly at this stage there is not”.

Judge O’Connor said he was being asked to “rubber stamp” the order made in December when the teen was initially refused bail. He said he was entitled to know the issues in this case.

A written list of the garda objections to bail, used at the teen’s first hearing, was furnished to the judge, however, Detective Garda Daniel Treacy said “on the day there was another page of concerns separate to that, I don’t have them here today”.

He also told the court the investigation file would be going to the garda juvenile liaison office this afternoon and he hoped that it would go next week to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The teen was accompanied by his parents who sat beside him throughout the hearing. He did not address the court.

The judge said he had no psychiatric report yet and he found himself in an unusual position in this case where the defence, the prosecution and the family were in agreement on the situation. Mulligan said that was possibly the case, but added, “for different reasons”.

The boy was further remanded in custody to appear again in two weeks.

The judge reiterated that nothing could be published that could identify the boy.

Following a lengthy bail hearing on 26 December, Judge Brian O’Shea noted the evidence of Det Garda Treacy who had told a special sitting of the court he believed the youth would be “likely to commit murder if released”.

Refusing bail, the judge had said it was alleged the boy engaged the complainant through the Whisper social media app and lured her to various abandoned locations.

The boy allegedly used a knife to inflict a “lengthy transverse laceration to her neck”, the bail hearing was told. The teen has no previous convictions and no history of drug addiction or abuse, the court also heard.

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Teenager in court over serious assault of woman (20s) in Dun Laoghaire >

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Tom Tuite

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