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Teenager who sexually assaulted half-brother (8) avoids jail sentence

The accused is from a dysfunctional family and had been in institutional care from a young age, the court heard.

SCC Rolling 7 Source: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

A TEENAGER IN the south-west of the country a mild intellectual disability has been given a two-year suspended sentence for sexually assaulting his younger half-brother almost three years ago.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Dublin Central Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the then eight-year-old boy on 4 December 2015. The accused was aged 14 at the time.

John O’Kelly SC, prosecuting, told the court that the accused teenager now lives in State care at a residential boys’ home.

Sergeant Declan Boland told a sentence hearing in March that the boys’ family had been well-known to both social services and the gardaí for many years, and that the accused had spent several years living with various foster families before the offence.

Today Justice Patrick McCarthy said there was “little doubt” that the accused was a troubled teenager who came from a dysfunctional family and had been in institutional care from a young age.

Psychiatric treatment

He said the boy had a history of self harm and had been in hospital for psychiatric treatment. He acknowledged that he was “not subject to the normal constraints of family life and discipline”.

Justice McCarthy noted that at the time of the offence the teenager had an obsessive interest in pornography. He said he had chosen to abuse his brother because he felt he would be unable to report it or understand what was happening.

He said the teenager had since apologised to his victim and there was “a degree of hope for the future”.

Justice McCarthy imposed a two-year sentence suspended in full on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for three years and abide by the requirements of both child and family agency Tusla and the Probation Service.

“You have to make serious efforts to resolve your issues,” Mr Justice McCarthy warned the teenager as he entered his bond.

The court heard at the sentence hearing in March that the mother of the two boys contacted gardaí in December 2015 to report what she had witnessed that night in her home.

She said her 14-year-old son had not been living with her at the time but had been staying with her once a week.

She said both her older son and her eight-year-old son were sharing a bedroom and that she had grown suspicious shortly before 9pm when they were both very quiet.

Embarrassed

She went down to the bedroom and opened the door to see her younger son bent over a single bed with his head facing the wall and her older son standing behind him at his bottom. Both boys’ boxer shorts were down and her older son’s penis was erect.

Her older son became embarrassed and said nothing had happened. He has no previous convictions.

A very short victim impact statement was read out by Sergeant Boland on behalf of the now ten-year-old victim which read as follows: “When it happened, I was really cross.”

“It was very bad what he did to his own brother. I couldn’t sleep that night because it was in the same room. He shouldn’t have done it.”

Colman Cody SC, defending said, at March’s sentence hearing, that his client had a mild intellectual disability. He said the accused had completed about two-thirds of an 18-month treatment course designed to deal with young people who have aberrant sexual behaviour problems.

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Jessica Magee and Sonya McLean

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