Boy had knife to confront ‘renowned paedophile’, court hears

Judge dismisses charge against 17-year-old caught on way to home of would-be abuser

A victim of a child sex ring, now aged 17, “flipped” and packed a knife with the intention of confronting “a renowned paedophile”, a court has been told.

The teenager was before the Children’s Court in Ennis where he pleaded guilty to the illegal possession of a knife in a Co Clare town on April 17th last.

The incident occurred after the sex offender had made unwanted advances on the boy, the court was told.

Judge Patricia Harney heard the teenager has been through "torture".


She heard he was the primary victim of a paedophile ring in Cork city that the State broke up a number of years ago.

The court heard the teenager suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and he has been in State care since the age of 10. The sexual abuse occurred before he went into State care .

Explaining the background to the incident, solicitor for the teenager, Daragh Hassett told the court: “This young man was the victim of systematic sexual and physical abuse for many years in Cork city.

“There was a paedophile ring there broken up by the State some years ago and this young man was the primary victim of that. It was an appalling case.”

Mr Hassett said that this is relevant as the teenager is currently living in State care in a Co Clare town where “a well-known and renowned paedophile befriended my client”.


Mr Hassett said: “This man was an elderly man and on the night in question, this man telephoned my client and was making certain advances to him and my client got into a taxi to make his way towards where this man lives.”

Mr Hassett said “you have a young man who was a victim of sexual abuse from a very young age and you have this paedophile who was trying to seek him out for the purpose of more abuse and my client reacted and he flipped”.

Sgt Aiden Lonergan said that when the teenager was intercepted by social workers and gardaí, a rucksack containing a knife was recovered from the boot of the taxi.

Mr Hassett said the knife was not used on the night and was not taken from the ruck sack. He said the older man is currently the subject of a Garda ‘grooming’ investigation.

Mr Hassett said his client “is doing very, very well” in State care.

“I have met the young man. He is a very erudite, bright, well spoken young man who has been through torture since a very young age.

“The State in this case has looked after him very well. In many cases the State is criticised about the way it has handles victim but by the boy’s own admissions, the State has been very good to him,” Mr Hassett said.

“It is a particularly unusual case with unusual facts — he is a particularly impressive young man.”

Asked about the background to the incident by Judge Harney as outlined by Mr Hassett, Sgt Aiden Lonergan said the facts are accepted by the State.

Judge Harney said the possession of a knife by a youth is “very concerning and very worrying for the Garda”.

However, Judge Harney said the case was unliked the normal run of cases that come before the district court. She said she would disregard the guilty plea and dismiss the case against the teen. “I have no hesitation in recording a dismissal.”

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times