A Dublin youth suffered “catastrophic" hammer blows in an arranged fight stemming from a row at a disco.
Two teenage boys, aged 16 and 17, involved in the fight but who did not use the hammer, pleaded guilty to an affray charge at the Dublin Children's Court. Both first-time offenders were spared custodial sentences.
The incident happened in north Dublin last year after the teenage victim met the 16-year-old for a "straightener" fight, pre-arranged on social media.
They were rolling around on the ground when the victim was struck to the back of his head four times with a hammer.
Another person is before the courts on a more serious charge of causing serious harm to the youth.
Judge Paul Kelly remarked that the victim suffered catastrophic injuries. As a result, he could no longer participate in contact sports and gave up football. He was scarred and may find it difficult to get car insurance because he had suffered a brain injury.
Amy Deane BL, for the younger defendant, told the court there had been an interaction between her client and the victim at a teen disco previously. The fight was arranged.
He hoped the youth would decline, but he did not. Counsel said several people were present for the fight, and it escalated.
She asked the judge to note he was not involved in using the hammer. The injured party also sent him a message later confirming that.
Counsel said he was remorseful, and she asked Judge Paul Kelly to note protective factors in his case.
He engaged in pro-social activities, had no prior criminal convictions, has not come to further Garda attention, attended school and hoped to carry on to third-level education. A pre-sentence probation report stated he was at low risk of reoffending.
He also saved €100, which he brought to court for a charity donation.
Judge Kelly imposed a nine-month probation bond. The teen, accompanied to court by his father, must not reoffend and engage with restorative justice and other interventions.
Judge Paul Kelly noted the 17-year-old boy was present when it happened.
He said that boy may have taken the hammer away from the scene.
The judge noted from Garda Bryan Kelly that while this boy was not the main protagonist, he was involved in arranging the fight on social media.
He also knew a person he hung around with was coming with a weapon to inflict serious harm and did not attempt to stop it.
The judge said the victim, who did not have to attend the hearing, could have been killed, and it had a serious and lasting impact on him.
The court heard the second defendant had not been in trouble before either. He was also active in sports and learning a trade.
He also apologised in court: "I'm sorry that it happened; it should not have happened." The defence asked the judge to note this boy also had protective factors: staying away from negative peer influences, work, involvement in sport, and family support and his probation report was positive.
He was fined €500 and placed on supervised probation for six months with conditions: address drug abuse and not reoffend.