A judge has ordered the arrest of a teenager convicted of attacking a Chinese woman pushed into a canal in Dublin when she challenged youths about racial taunts.
The 16-year-old was due to face a sentencing hearing at the Dublin Children's Court today. However, he did not turn up, and Judge Paul Kelly acceded to Garda Ross Doyle's application to issue a bench warrant.
The court heard he was not answering his phone, which the judge remarked was consistent with the contents of the latest probation report on the boy.
It was the second time he skipped court in the proceedings.
Video footage went viral on social media site TikTok of the woman remonstrating with boys who laughed as she was suddenly knocked into the Royal Canal in Dublin 15, on the evening of August 14, 2020, after she challenged youths about racial taunts.
Two boys, now 16, were charged with assaulting Xeudan Xiong, 50, at the 12th Lock, Castleknock. They were aged 14 at the time.
They were found guilty by Judge Paul Kelly at a Dublin Children's Court hearing in September. The woman later told the court she forgave her attackers.
The judge commissioned probation reports on the pair with no prior criminal convictions.
Last year, the court imposed a 12-month probation bond on the co-defendant. That boy must stay out of trouble, remain supervised by the Probation Service and accept assistance from community-based agencies.
Breaching the terms could result in his case being reopened and the risk of a custodial sentence instead.
During the trial, Ms Xiong gave evidence, and the judge examined video footage from a mobile phone used to film the attack and a local shop's CCTV, which helped gardai identify suspects.
Ms Xiong recalled going for a stroll along the canal, looking at fish and water lilies.
She stopped at a little pier at the 15th lock between Castleknock and Ashtown. "All of a sudden", a bicycle rushed toward her and stopped one or two feet away. Ms Xiong said she jumped in fright, and two or three boys laughed.
"I screamed, and they mocked me," she said, adding that they carried on in the Castleknock direction. She picked up a branch because she was "so frightened" and did not feel safe.
Another group approached her, and one boy "looked me in the eye" and said, "corona, coronavirus". Ms Xiong recalled feeling sad, but she continued until meeting a third group of boys. One of them was on a bike and continually circled her, and she remembered saying, "leave me alone".
Minutes later, she heard them shouting, "Chinese noodles, fried noodles, a few times".
Ms Xiong turned and went after them to tell them it was racial discrimination. She also took out her phone to record them, but they moved on.
Another group of boys surrounded her, and one asked, "what did you do to my friends?".
She was pushed suddenly. "Next thing I remember, I was in the water," she said, adding, "the only thing I can remember is being in the water".
She remembered pulling herself out, and passers-by came to her help and went with her to the Blanchardstown Garda station. She later found out the boys had uploaded the video to TikTok. They cannot be named because they are minors.