A 17-year-old joined an attack on another teenager by breaking a vodka bottle over his head as he lay helpless on the ground and then stabbed him repeatedly with the neck of the bottle.
He was jailed for 18 months today.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a sentence of two years and six months and suspended one year of that at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The frenzied attack was videoed and posted on social media. However, while the judge commented on this, he said it was not something in itself for which the defendant could be sentenced.
Both the defendant and the victim were 17 at the time of the June attack and cannot be identified in coverage of the case.
Detective Garda Declan Healy described the crime that occurred after 10 p.m. on June 6 in a housing estate in Carrigaline as “a brutal and vicious assault on an injured party that left him for dead, really.”
Det. Garda Healy said, “He was asked for €2 for a bus by a youth. When he refused he was punched to the ground and kicked on the ground. The defendant then spoke to the first youth involved in the assault. He went over to the injured party lying on the ground and smashed a 70cl vodka bottle over the head of the injured party.
“He then picked up the neck of the bottle that had been broken and stabbed him six times.
“Another youth recorded it on Snapchat and it went viral throughout the city and county as well as America, causing huge distress to the injured party and his family.
“The injured party had an iPhone 5 worth €500 that fell out of his pocket and the accused picked it up and left the scene with two other youths.
“The injured party would be a quiet young fella who was never in trouble with the guards."
The defendant was caught with the phone and on his third interview with gardaí he came clean and confessed to assaulting the injured party and taking the phone.
Emmet Boyle, defence barrister, said the accused wrote a letter of apology to the injured party and the defendant’s father wrote another one and these letters were given to the gardaí for the injured party.
Mr Boyle said of the defendant, “He was subjected to hatred in the community, focusing on the event and his ethnicity.”
The barrister said the defendant had since moved out of Cork.
The injured party's family said in a victim impact statement: “We believed our son was safe in his local community.
“We always encouraged him to form solid friendships through school and sports. The ethos that, to gain respect you needed to show respect, was instilled in (victim’s name) from a young age. So, for our son to be a victim of this needless, frenzied attack was a devastating blow to our family.
“The scenes that evening will stay with us forever. We could only describe it like taking part in an episode of CSI. The serious scale of the incident was conveyed to us by flashing lights of Garda cars, the blaring sirens, the crowd of onlookers and the presence of an ambulance.
“This was every parent’s worst nightmare. We believed our son was dead. We have no words to describe this emotion here today.
“The social media side of this attack added another layer of hurt and pain to our lives.
“We cannot come to terms with how this could be videoed, posted and shared on a worldwide platform. We have never looked at it. Nor will we ever.
“This attack has caused immense hurt and heartache. We fear for our children’s wellbeing and safety when they are out. If our phone calls go unanswered it stirs deep anxiety within us.
“For the rest of our lives, we will be haunted with the image of our young son lying on a stretcher, in an ambulance, heavily bandaged, telling us he did nothing wrong. It breaks our heart.”
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin acknowledged that the plea of guilty to the charges of assault causing harm and stealing the iPhone obviated the further distress that would have been caused to the injured party to have to give evidence at a trial.
The judge also noted the fact that the defendant was so young and had no previous convictions, had shown remorse and had tried to take steps to put his life on a better footing.
However, the judge said there had to be a prison sentence.
“It is very difficult to understand the nature and severity of the violence used. He had a victim on the ground. He was not previously involved in the assault.
"He came upon a defenceless man, struck him with a bottle and thereafter stabbed him in the face with the broken bottle. It is difficult to understand in any person, all the more so in a youth.
“It was an assault on a helpless victim which caused significant upset.
“And then some idiot filming it and making it go viral. It is a lamentable sign of our modern existence we should have gone so low,” Judge Ó Donnabháin said.