Student to pay €1,000 into poor box in lieu of conviction over ‘extreme bullying’

Victim stamped on and beaten in scenario solicitor compared to ‘Lord of The Flies’

A student involved in the ‘extreme bullying’ of a younger pupil at a Limerick school is to make a €1,000 contribution to a court poor box in lieu of an assault conviction.

A student involved in the ‘extreme bullying’ of a younger pupil at a Limerick school is to make a €1,000 contribution to a court poor box in lieu of an assault conviction.

 

A student involved in the “extreme bullying” of a younger pupil at a Limerick school is to make a €1,000 contribution to a court poor box in lieu of an assault conviction.

The victim, who was 13 at the time, was stamped on and repeatedly beaten by older pupils at the school in March 2015, Limerick District Court heard last year. Water was thrown in his face, his head was banged against a wall, and, on occasion, he was directed to ‘kiss the shoes’ of the culprits.

The accused, who pleaded guilty to one count of Section 3 assault causing harm, was one of a number of students involved in bullying the boy. Others were not prosecuted as they accepted juvenile cautions from gardaí.

Solicitor Ted McCarthy, defending, claimed there had been “little or no supervision” of the students in the school at the time of the bullying, which he said was “akin to a time of ‘Lord of The Flies’”.

“The school environment these boys were placed into was a disgrace. If there was proper supervision none of this would have occurred,” he said.

Gardaí said the victim, who was not present in court, was recovering well from the ordeal. “He changed school afterwards. He’s doing really well,” Insp Helen Costello said. She praised the boy for speaking out.

‘Age difference’

“It was a typical case of extreme bullying. The (accused) was in fifth year and (the victim) was in first year, there was a considerable age difference,” she said.

The accused, now in his early 20s, apologised for what had occurred, and said he would “never do it again”. The court heard that, at the time of the bullying, he was stressed because of a family matter.

He has since attended 12 counselling sessions “to deal with anger” issues and is a volunteer with a charity group.

In line with the judge’s orders from an earlier hearing, the accused paid €3,110 in compensation to the boy. He also wrote a 10,000 word essay about the impact of bullying on victims, copies of which are to be furnished to the victim and the school.

“It is a very good essay and I do think it would be very worthwhile for schools to read it,” Judge Marian O’Leary said.

The court heard the victim has not accepted an apology offered to him by the defendant, who is now in university.

Judge O’Leary noted the defendant was “a young man who his just starting out” and that a “conviction would follow him for the rest of his life”.

He was given 12 months to make a €1,000 contribution to the court poor box, in lieu of a conviction for assault, and a €1,200 fine.

The court heard civil proceedings involving the parties, arising out of the same matter, are pending.