No jail for youth who used tin can to assault shop manager

A Dublin youth, who beat a shop manager over the head with a tin can during a vicious assault, has been spared a custodial sentence.

The attack was broken up when the man’s colleague hosed down a group of violent teenagers with a fire extinguisher.

Christopher Byrne, aged 19, from Cabra Park, who had 39 prior criminal convictions, pleaded guilty to violent disorder and assault causing harm at a Topaz shop in Balgriffin, Dublin 17, on February 19, 2015.

The case was heard at the Dublin Children’s Court because a co-accused was a minor. Byrne was sentenced to 12 months’ supervised probation by Judge John O’Connor. He must stay out of trouble and accept help from the Probation Service to help divert him from re-offending. Otherwise his case could be re-entered for breaching the terms of the order and he could face a custodial sentence.

Garda Ciaran Upton told Judge O’Connor that Byrne and three other youths went to the Topaz shop to buy tea and coffee. The manager suspected one of them of theft.

The manager was attacked and ended up on the ground, in a struggle with Byrne, who picked up a solid tin can and used it to strike him over his eye.

The victim was struck a number of times and by more than one person when he was on the ground, the court heard. Another shop worker was in fear and intervened by deploying a fire extinguisher to disperse the three youths who ran outside, after which the door was locked shut.

Byrne’s three friends remained outside, and the door was smashed in allowing him to get out, before all four fled. Gardaí arrived after a panic alarm was activated to find the forecourt covered in white powder and the manager bleeding.

Byrne had seven convictions for motor theft offences, two for public order charges, seven for theft, one for violent behaviour in a Garda station, as well as trespassing, drugs, and driving offences.

Judge O’Connor described it as a very frightening experience. Some €1,076 worth of damage was caused.

Two other youths, aged 18, will be sentenced later for their roles in the incident. A 17-year-old boy has been released on supervised probation for 12 months after he admitted to violent disorder and criminal damage charges.


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