A 16-year-old Dublin girl has been found guilty of a mugging after the victim identified her in a Facebook trawl of local youngsters, writes Tom Tuite.
The teen, who claimed she was blamed because she was “the only girl with a bad reputation in town”, will be sentenced in April.
The Dublin Children's Court heard that the woman, 32, moved house as a result of the robbery and was afraid to be on her own following the incident in north, Co. Dublin in the early hours of August 30. 2015.
A teenage boy had pleaded guilty earlier to his role and his case is to be finalised in July.
The 16-year-old girl, however, had denied the charge and also pleaded not guilty to harassing the woman.
She faced trial at the juvenile court. In evidence, the woman described how she was walking home when she was approached from behind by two males and a female.
They tried to grab her bag and the girl was shouting “give me the money”, she said. The witness said she was pushed against a car and was kicked and punched in the face. She let go of her bag, containing €90, which was taken and she said she suffered a bruised eye.
She told Judge John O’Connor that the next day she got a relative who was of a similar age to the robbers to go through his Facebook friends list showing young people in the area. From that she identified the girl as well as the boy who faced a separate hearing.
She printed off the pictures and showed them to gardai who later arrested the girl. She agreed it was dark at the time of the incident but said she was definite the girl was one of three people who robbed her.
She denied that she had threatened the girl on later dates. She admitted she had discussed the incident on Facebook but that was just to warn others about what had happened.
The woman told the court that after the incident her home was burgled, she was followed, a banger was thrown at her home. She said a man called to home and told her “your house will be marked, I know the number of the door, you’ll get a visit soon”. She said she could not sleep and and to get a friend to accompany her if she wanted to go to the local shop.
Eventually she moved out of her home and lost her deposit and had to stay with family members.
She is now weary about carrying a bag or having cash on her. She had been out sick from work at the time and the robbery delayed her going back to her job, she said.
In her interview with Garda Kevin Fitzpatrick, the girl repeatedly answered that she had been at her friend’s house that night and she claimed her friend’s mother could vouch for her. However, neither her friend or her mother gave evidence during the hearing.
The State did not call the friend’s mother to give evidence because she told gardai she had taken a sleeping tablet for the night. The girl’s alibi also told gardai that before she went to sleep she had heard the defendant’s voice in her home but had not seen her.
The girl also told gardai she planned to sue the victim for defamation. She claimed she was picked out by the victim because she was “the only girl with a bad reputation in town”.
Defence counsel Simon Donagh argued that the woman had done an unsupervised identity parade on Facebook which was confined to just certain people known to her relative.
The teenage girl, who was accompanied to court by her mother, did not give evidence.
Judge O’Connor said the case came down to credibility of the witness and he said the victim came across as very truthful and he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the girl was guilty of the robbery. He dismissed the harassment charge.
The girl has also been found guilty of assault a teenage boy in another incident and facts of that incident will be heard at the next hearing in April when a pre-sentence probation report on her will be furnished to the court.