16-year-old to face trial for assault in 'Bebo' row

A 16-year-old boy will face trial for attacking a teenager who was stabbed and beaten with knuckle-dusters over comments made about a girl on a Bebo webpage, a judge held today.

The boy has been charged at the Children’s Court with assault causing harm to the teenage boy, at Ringsend Park, in south Dublin, on March 9 last. He also faces connected charges for theft of two mobile phones.

Judge Patrick McMahon was told that the row stemmed from comments posted on the internet on Bebo, a social networking website popular with teenagers.

It was alleged the defendant and another youth, who also faces prosecution, met the boy, believing he made threats and posted a message online saying “stay away from this girl.”

The fight took place at a basketball court and it was alleged the boy was hit by the defendant who was armed with a knuckle-duster, a hand-worn weapon.

It was also alleged he was stabbed by the second youth and suffered superficial wounds to his shoulder.

A file on the teen had been sent the Director of Public Prosecutions who recommended that the case should be sent forward to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, which on conviction can impose lengthier sentences.

However, defence solicitor Michelle Finan pleaded with the Children’s Court to retain jurisdiction for the case and not to send it forward.

She said the south Dublin teen, who was accompanied to court by his parents, had never been in trouble before. The incident started out as a normal row about a girl and ended up in this “appalling situation” which had not been envisaged.

She said he had no previous convictions and hoped to start begin a career soon.

Judge Patrick McMahon refused jurisdiction saying he noted that a knife and knuckle-dusters had been used in the alleged assault.

He held the case was too serious to be retained in the Children’s Court and ordered that it should go forward to the Circuit Court.

The teenager was remanded on bail to appear again next month when he, along with a co-defendant, is to be served with the book of evidence.

Prosecuting Garda Allen Farrell said the victim’s mother did not want compensation from the defendant’s parents or for the boy to be let off with a “slap on the wrist.”

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