Two Lithuanian teenagers are facing 11 months in detention at St Patrick’s Institution after they pleaded guilty to their part in a vicious attack on a Mullingar man. They are just 15 years old.
Judge John Neilan described the victim’s injuries as “appalling” and said it was only by the grace of God that he had not died in the attack.
The victim was making his way home at a Mullingar housing estate on March 21 last at 9.50pm when he was set upon by five teenagers, the eldest of whom was 18 at the time.
The 50-year-old was knocked down, kicked in the upper body and head and he lost consciousness.
Inspector Kieran Keyes, who showed graphic photographs of the man’s injuries to Mullingar District Court, said the victim had suffered a head injury and a 4cm laceration to his scalp and an injury to his left eye.
His wallet, containing €60, was stolen and not recovered but his mobile phone was returned. He incurred almost €850 in medical expenses.
Of the five youths involved, only two were prosecuted, but the court heard that the older youth, who was understood to be the most influential, had since returned to Lithuania.
He was described as “a more seasoned campaigner” by the boys’ solicitor.
Mr Louis Kiernan said the 15-year-olds had never been in trouble before or since and had been in the country for a number of years. They had made voluntary cautioned statements to gardaí and had met the charge head on, he said.
They appreciated the incident had been “very, very serious” and knew their age didn’t insulate them from “the rigours of the law,” he said.
In a stinging criticism of the boys’ behaviour, Judge John Neilan said their sole purpose had been “to rob this unfortunate gentleman” in what he called a premeditated attack.
“You lay in wait for your victim and as a pack you attacked in a vicious fashion,” he said.
“You left the man there like an animal in the street,” he added, noting that the boys and their families had been treated with dignity and respect since they arrived in the country.
He complimented the victim, who “has the grace and the compassion not to be looking for one cent compensation” although “in his native town he was set upon at night and beaten nearly to a pulp”.
“He’s not asking for his pound of flesh,” the judge went on, saying the man wished only for his medical expenses to be paid for.
The youths, who will be 16 in the coming months and cannot be named for legal reasons, have been given until July 1 to come up with €500 compensation each and a probation report has been requested.
He warned the boys that he could not paint a vivid enough picture of St Patrick’s Institution for them, and warned that if they are seen together in the hours of darkness before their adjourn date “your movements will be challenged immediately”.