Suspected hate attack on Dublin lesbian couple ‘shocking’, says judge

An unnamed same-sex couple holding hands.

Victim impact statements from a suspected hate attack against a lesbian couple have been described as “shocking” by a court judge.

A 17-year-old boy currently facing hate crime charges appeared again in Dublin Children’s Court after pleading guilty to assaulting a lesbian couple in 2022.

Same-sex partners Robyn Deane, 22, and Kate McCabe, 25, were assaulted by the boy, then 15, in May 2022 while they were waiting for a bus at Dumcondra Road in Dublin.

The lesbian couple were reportedly cuddling at a bus shelter when the boy, who did not know the pair, threw homophobic insults and began repeatedly punching them. He was reportedly intoxicated at the time.

The couple, who did not attend the court hearing, both gave victim impact statements on the incident, which District Court judge Paul Kelly described as “pretty shocking”.

Judge Kelly ordered the defendant’s lawyer, who accompanied the 17-year-old with his mother and a grandparent, to go through it with him “in some detail”.

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Deane wrote in the impact statement that the teenager made himself “big and screamed in her face” after confronting them at the bus shelter.

After calling the lesbian couple “two f**king d*kes” and a number of other slurs, Deane wrote that he briefly walked away, but came back and punched her partner, McCabe, with a “closed fist punch”.

He shouted more times and hit McCabe multiple times. Deane then tried to fend him off but was allegedly struck as well.

She said that the boy then “turned his focus on her” and began striking her multiple times “with a flurry of punches to her face and head”.

The court heard that the boy and a man accompanying him later fled the scene, but were captured on CCTV. The offence had also taken place in broad daylight on a busy street.

Photos of injuries, as well as a medical report, were also handed to the court. McCabe suffered bruising to her neck, arms and hand, while Deane had soft tissue injuries, a black eye and swollen lips.

Independent witnesses who saw the incident against the lesbian couple described it as “rage-filled” and recalled the victims screaming for help.

Judge Kelly adjourned sentencing for an updated probation, restorative justice and community service assessment reports to be processed. The teenager was already on probation for a previous crime.

He is set to appear in court in 12 weeks’ time.

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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