Three years for knife assault on teenager

A man who stabbed a 14-year-old boy following a domestic dispute has been jailed for three years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Paul Chambers (aged 44), of Rathdown Road, Phibsborough pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at a house in Clondalkin on September 15, 2007.

Mr Sean Guerin BL, defending, told the court that his client had entered a plea of guilty on the basis that he had used “excessive force” in self-defence when he stabbed a teenager who had confronted Chambers over his treatment of another boy.

Judge Frank O’Donnell said that Chambers explanation for events was “devoid of any substance or merit” whatsoever and rejected his self-defence argument.

In handing down a three year sentence, Judge O’Donnell said that instead of turning around and walking away upon encountering the victim and his friends, Chambers had “viciously attacked” the now 17-year-old boy.

Detective Garda Brian O’Shaughnessy told Ms Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that the victim and four witnesses had each given a statement to gardaí recounting their version of the assault.

In his statement, the victim told gardaí that on the night of September 14, he had been drinking with his girlfriend and two male friends in a house in Clondalkin.

He and his friends were about to leave the house when one of the boys in the group received a phone call telling him to call to a nearby house.

The group decided to accompany their friend back to the house, where they waited outside while their friend spoke to the occupants.

The victim said that Chambers immediately began shouting at his friend, interrogating him and pushing him against a wall.

The victim told gardaí he then shouted at Chambers to leave his friend alone, wherupon he emerged from the house and confronted the group, asking if they wanted “a piece of him” before rushing at the victim with an object he had taken out of his pocket.

The teenager said he grappled with Chambers on the ground, not realising he had been stabbed below the ribs until after Chambers had been forced to stop his assault by the others in the group.

The teenager told gardaí that he had been “split down the middle” following an operation to repair the damage done to his colon by the knife Chambers had wielded.

Ms Baxter said other members of the group admitted to kicking Chambers in the head, hitting him with a bottle and kicking him “over” the head to get him away from the victim as they wrestled on the ground.

Another witness described to gardaí how both he and another boy had taken off their jackets and shouted “C’mon then” at Chambers when he asked them if they wanted “a piece” of him.

Chambers told gardaí that just after midnight on September 15, a caller to the house in Clondalkin told him he was “wanted” outside, from where one of the gathered group of teenagers, but not the victim, shouted that he was going to “beat” Chambers.

Chambers said that as he walked toward the group a scuffle broke out and he wrestled with the victim on the ground. He said that after feeling a “boot” to his head he realised he had a bait-knife in his pocket and decided to stab the teenager in order to get way from the three youths who were striking him.

Chambers, who has 33 previous convictions, told gardaí that he knew what he did was wrong, that he was sorry and that he had a feeling he would be sorry for the rest of his life.

Ms Baxter told the court that the victim had become withdrawn and fearful after the assault and that it had significantly affected his academic and sporting pursuits.

Det Gda O’Shaughnessy agreed with Mr Guerin that there were contradictions in the statements given by the group of four teenagers and that they had “squared-up” to Chambers outside his home.

Det Gda O’Shaughnessy agreed that Chambers had received a number of threatening phone calls from an unregistered number in the aftermath of the assault, demanding money in return for the charges against him being dropped.

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