Alleged taunting of disabled friend led to attack by schoolboy

Sentencing of a 16-year-old schoolboy, who claims he attacked a youth because he had taunted a wheelchair-bound friend, has been adjourned for a victim impact report to be obtained.

The boy reacted after his friend had allegedly been subjected to verbal abuse and insults about his disability, the Dublin Children’s Court has been told.

The teenager, who has no prior convictions and is on bail, has pleaded guilty to assault to causing harm to the 17-year-old youth, in a south Co. Dublin suburb, on January 16 last.

Judge Bryan Smyth today adjourned the case until next month to allow further time for a victim impact statement to be furnished to the court.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble had said the incident stemmed from verbal abuse being directed at a third party, a wheelchair-bound friend of the defendant. He had also said the defence was entitled to see the victim’s impact statement and that he may call the disabled youth to give evidence at the sentence hearing also.

The court has heard that the accused and a disabled life-long teenage friend, who is confined to a wheelchair, had been approached by the teenage victim.

It was alleged by the defence, that the victim said “hey you you’re handicapped” and made references to his disability.

The defendant confronted the youth over the alleged comments and a fight broke out between the pair who exchanged punches.

Eight other people joined in and attacked the youth, who received a broken front tooth and was hospitalised for one night.

In mitigation, defence solicitor Mr Noble, has said his client made a voluntary statement to gardaí in which he made admissions over his role in the incident.

Other people allegedly involved were questioned but did not make any admissions leaving the teen the only person to face prosecution arising from the attack.

Mr Noble had said the teen “was with a life -long friend, dreadful obscenities were directed at this person and he got upset.” He has also submitted that other witness statements taken agreed with the teen’s claims about the abuse levelled at his disabled friend.

Mr Noble also said the injured party’s statement to gardaí did not mention the insults or that he had drink taken. A medical report showed that the victim had alcohol in his system, he also told the court.

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