Court Hears Details Of ‘Rage-F...


Court Hears Details Of ‘Rage-Filled’ Hate Attack On Lesbian Couple In Dublin

Tom Douglas
Tom Douglas

05:38 6 Sep 2023

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A Judge has described as "shocking" victim impact statements shown to him after a teenager's "rage-filled" and suspected hate attack on a lesbian couple.

The boy, now 17, attacked after seeing them cuddling at a bus shelter in Dublin.

The boy, who cannot be identified because he is a minor, appeared again at the Dublin Children's Court today.

He pleaded guilty earlier to assault causing harm to Robyn Deane, 22, and her partner Kate McCabe, 25, at Drumcondra Road Upper in the city's north side on May 16, 2022, and will be sentenced later.

The couple were not known to the boy, then 15, who was on drugs, used a homophobic slur and suddenly launched an attack and repeatedly punched them.

They were not required to attend the hearing today.

However, Garda Declan Phelan furnished District Court President Judge Paul Kelly and the defence with copies of their impact statements.

Judge Kelly described them as "pretty shocking" and ordered the defence barrister to go through it "in some detail" with the defendant.

The boy, who did not address the court, was accompanied to the hearing by his mother and a grandparent.

Judge Kelly adjourned sentencing for updated probation, restorative justice and community service assessment reports to be prepared.

The teen will appear again in 12 weeks.

Earlier, the court had heard that art student Robyn and civil servant Kate had been waiting for a bus with plans to attend a National College of Art and Design presentation.

The boy and a man approached the shelter; Ms Deane would later describe in her statement how the teen "made himself big and screamed in her face".

He went away but walked back and shouted a derogatory term, "two f***ing d***s”, and struck Ms McCabe "with a closed fist punch".

He shouted in her face and hit her multiple times, and she tried to fend him off when the man got involved and allegedly hit her from behind.

Robyn tried to separate them, and the boy "turned his focus on her", striking her multiple times "with a flurry of punches to her face and head".

Garda Phelan said that Robyn and Kate were an openly gay couple and believed the motive for the assault was because of their sexuality.

They suspected the boy targeted them because they had displayed affection by "kissing and cuddling in the shelter" beforehand.

The garda referred to the derogatory term and added that the incident was categorised as a hate crime on the Garda system.

The court heard that the boy and the man then left but were captured on CCTV; the incident happened in broad daylight on a busy street, and the accused was on bail for another offence.

Independent witnesses came forward, with one describing the attack as "rage-filled", and another recalled one of the victims shouting "help me".

A passer-by said the teen was "flailing" at them.

The defence said the boy was under the influence of drugs at the time.

Garda Phelan said the boy was the "main aggressor," and the incident lasted less than a minute.

He could not agree the incident was drug-fuelled and that he could not get into the mind of the accused.

Photos of their injuries and a medical report were handed into court.

Ms McCabe suffered bruising to her neck, arms and hand, while her partner had soft tissue injuries, a black eye and swollen lips.

The court has heard that the teenager had experienced turmoil in his family life connected to parental alcoholism and drug use.

Background issues and medical problems also had an impact on his level of maturity, the defence submitted.

With reporting by Tom Tuite.

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