Teenager avoids jail over fight pre-arranged on Facebook

A teenager who attacked another boy during a fight that had been pre-arranged on Facebook has avoided jail.

Michael Norris, then aged 17, used a hurley to attack the 15-year old victim at St Anne's Park, Raheny on January 4, 2012.

Norris (aged 19) told gardaí he intervened in the fight because of a call for help from his friend, who had arranged the meeting with the victim.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm. Norris, with an address at Swans Nest Avenue, Kilbarrack, has no previous convictions.

Judge Desmond Hogan said Norris had taken an “over-enthusiastic response” to his friend’s difficulty.

He handed down a two-year sentence, suspended in full on condition that Norris keeps the peace and is of good behaviour for two years.

Garda Sinead Green told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that the victim had arranged over Facebook to meet Norris' friend in the park for a fight.

She said a group of over 30 young people had gathered to watch the fight, some of who were unknown to both fighters. She described the fight as a “ten-second scuffle” on the ground.

During the fight, Norris intervened by striking the victim a number of times with the hurley.

The court heard a co-accused also hit the victim across the head using the hurley, fracturing his skull.

The victim received six stitches to his head and suffered from headaches for a while after the assault, but the evidence was that Norris did not cause these injuries.

Norris expressed remorse and shame to gardaí.

He told them he had intervened because the victim was on top of his friend and his friend asked him to get the teenager off him.

Fiona Murphy BL, defending, said Norris has engaged fully with the Restorative Justice Programme.

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