26 Sept 2022

Teenager stabbed friend during pre-arranged fight over dispute between their girlfriends

Teenager stabbed friend during pre-arranged fight over dispute between their girlfriends

A teenage boy stabbed his friend during a fight they pre-arranged in order to settle a dispute between their respective girlfriends, a court has heard.

The boy (15), who cannot be named for legal reasons, twice stabbed his friend during the “straightener” which they had arranged after there had been “slagging” about the boy's girlfriend.

The accused pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to production of an article in the course of a dispute and assault causing harm at an address in north Dublin on February 7, 2020. He has no previous convictions.

A local garda told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that the accused and the victim were friends and they agreed to settle a dispute between their respective girlfriends with a fist fight.

The garda said that prior to the fight the accused lit toilet paper on fire and placed it on the windshield of the victim's family car in order to “entice” him outside from his home. The two teenagers touched fists before beginning a fight that lasted approximately two minutes.

During the fight, the accused produced a knife and twice stabbed the victim. The victim ran inside his home and was followed by the accused who tried to stab him again before leaving the scene.

In interview with gardaí, the accused said he brought the knife because he was concerned the victim had a hurl. Facebook messages between the two showed that they had agreed that no weapons would be used in the fight, which they called a “straightener”.

The accused said in interview that there had been “slagging” about his girlfriend regarding something he had told his friend “in confidence”. The court heard he has since apologised to the victim in person for the offence.

The garda agreed with Ronan Munro SC, defending, that the wind blew away the toilet paper his client lit on fire and that it was not “a determined effort” to set the car on fire.

He agreed with counsel that his client said he had been smoking weed on the date and was “stoned” at the time of the fight. He agreed that the environment the accused is in is not great and that he has a brother who is in trouble with gardaí.

The garda agreed with Mr Munro that his client speaks about going to prison “in a fatalistic way”. He agreed the accused had disengaged from school since the pandemic and said the accused is “constantly out on the streets”.

Judge Elma Sheahan remanded the accused on continuing bail on strict conditions, including that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour, maintain a curfew between 10PM and 6AM, continue attending school and continue liaising with the school's counsellor.

She adjourned the case for finalisation to June 4, next.

At a previous sentencing hearing in March, Judge Sheahan agreed to remand the accused boy in Oberstown detention centre for 28 days so he could engage with the Probation Service on the suggestion of defence counsel.

On Thursday the court heard that the accused was released on bail last week and has been attending school after previously disengaging since the pandemic began.

Additional evidence

At a previous sentencing hearing in March, Mr Munro said a report from the Probation Service had been ordered and that his client did not show up to the appointment. He said a report is “not going to happen” unless his client is remanded in Oberstown.

Counsel said his client has “a certain view of custody”, but that this may change after being remanded for 28 days.

Judge Sheahan asked the accused what he thought about being remanded in Oberstown and meeting with the Probation Service there. The accused replied that it would be “handier” to get the report and agreed he was not “too bothered” about going into custody.

She asked the accused's grandmother, who was present in court, what she thought about this arrangement in light of the accused seeming to be open to being remanded in custody.

The accused's grandmother replied that it “would be for the best” and that he would be able to get

the help he needs. She said her grandson has gone “off the rails” since fighting his friend.

Judge Sheahan ordered that the accused be remanded in Oberstown until Thursday's date, but said there was liberty to bring the matter before the court if a Probation Report was ready before then.

She told the accused to use this time as a break from everything and warned him not to get into trouble in Oberstown.

At the sentence hearing on Thursday, Judge Sheahan asked the accused if he had enjoyed his time in Oberstown.

“No,” the accused responded. Judge Sheahan told him to keep that at the forefront of his mind.

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