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A youth who left a Dublin girl permanently scarred and afraid to leave her house, following a horrific attack after she rejected his sexual advances, has been spared a custodial sentence.
The youth, then aged 16, punched and repeatedly kicked the teenage girl in the head during the attack on a street in Dublin city-centre’s north-side on a date in 2014, the Dublin Children’s Court was told.
The first-time offender, who has apologised, was placed on probation for 12 months on Tuesday by Judge John O’Connor. The judge cited juvenile justice laws stating that detention must be a “last resort” and the court had to encourage rehabilitation. He also said this type of assault carried out in a “fit of temper” was “far too common”.
Judge O’Connor noted, from her victim impact statement, the girl was left physically scarred and insecure. She was afraid to leave the house and had no interest in going to school which had an impact on her education and had to repeat a year.
She also experienced flashbacks, the court was told. She needed nine stitches to an ear.
She described how before the attack she had been confident but is now self-conscious.
“Day to day life changed hugely, I went from being social to not want to leave the house,” she had said in her statement.
The youth, had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and had been warned earlier that he was facing a possible sentence of up to one year.
The Dublin Children’s Court heard the unprovoked attack happened after they met through Facebook friends.
The teenager walked with her from the city-centre. He made an advance, spurned by the girl, then he punched and kicked her in the head a number of times. She was bleeding and hospitalised with head and facial injuries which required stitches, the court was told.
Judge O’Connor remarked she had a “horrific time and a life changing experience”.
He said while the court had to take the teenager into account in sentencing, he stressed he also had to consider the victim as well the public perception of how the court deals with such offences.
The court had heard the youth, now aged 19, who had substance misuse issues, had no prior criminal convictions and has not come to Garda attention since.
Judge O’Connor said the assault was one every parent or guardian of a daughter dreads and which is far too common in practice.
It was carried out in a fit of temper which was totally unjustified and for which the victim was completely blameless, he said. He said she was a very brave girl who gave a moving impact statement in court.