Five teens released without charge over vicious attack of gay 14-year-old schoolboy in Ireland

Ireland attack

Five juvenile teenagers were arrested over the horrific attack of a gay 14-year-old schoolboy in Navan, Ireland and later released without charge, the Irish police have confirmed. 

The vicious beating, which took place on Monday (15 May), was captured on video and shared widely on Twitter. The clip circulating shows boys in school uniforms violently attacking one of their peers in the green area of a housing estate in Navan, County Meath.

The victim, who is reportedly just 14 years old, was hospitalised for “serious facial injuries” and a family member told PinkNews he had sustained “two broken teeth”, “swelling and injuries” to his head and face, along with “some torso injuries”.

“In this day and age, it’s absolutely disgraceful that someone can be assaulted or persecuted for something out of their control and something so inoffensive. No matter what your look on life is, it shouldn’t come to this,” they said.

“I hope that the attackers face just consequences.”

The Irish Times reported that the victim received “extensive bruising” and was left with “a shoe print on his forehead”.

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The relative said the boy had been “harassed for being gay” at school, but this was the first time the harassment had become physically violent. 

“The whole family is aware of this, and that it’s been an ongoing issue,” the family member, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “He was leaving school around 2.30pm [on] Monday and the teens had apparently planned to assault him that evening.”

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They also claimed that both the victim and attackers currently attend Beaufort College in Navan. 

The Gardaí (police) in Navan have now confirmed that five juvenile teenagers were arrested on Friday (19 May) and have been released without charge. 

A Gardaí spokesperson said: “Gardaí in Navan are continuing to investigate the assault of a teenage boy which occurred in Navan on Monday.

“Following this incident, a male juvenile teen attended Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda where he received treatment for serious facial injuries.

“Yesterday, Gardaí arrested five juvenile teenagers in the Navan area for alleged offences under Section 3 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1999. All five were detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 at Garda Stations in the Meath Region.

“The five juvenile teenagers were later released without charge and a file will be referred in the first instance for consideration for admission to the Juvenile Diversion Programme in accordance with Part 4 of the Children Act, 2001.”

On Wednesday (17 May), Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that “everyone would condemn [the incident] utterly”.

Varadkar, who was the first serving Irish politician to come out as openly gay, continued: “I want to send my solidarity to the person who was harmed and injured in this way. I would say to them that life does get better.

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“It is very sad that people experience violence and bullying in school, but life does get better and I’d say not to give up. I would say how sad I am that in this day and age we still see this kind of bullying and violence in our schools.”

The Gardaí confirmed that while there is no hate crime on the statute books in Ireland, an “integral and essential part of every criminal investigation is to determine the motivation of the alleged offence”. The incident has been recorded with a “hate motivation based on the international McPherson test”. 

The McPherson test is a perception-based test introduced in 2019 as part of the force’s diversity and integration strategy.

The Garda Síochána is liaising with the victim and his family and a family liaison office has been appointed. The Navan police have also urged members of the public to refrain from sharing the video of the attack that is circulating on social media out of respect for the victim. 

Gardaí are continuing to appeal to any person with information on the assault to contact Navan Garda Station at 046 9079930, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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