A law student has been ordered to pay €7,500 in compensation for her part in orchestrating a “hare-brained” and “bizarre” scheme by enlisting a gang of youths to tie up her former boyfriend and violently assault him during an alleged aggravated burglary.
Jennifer Patrick (19), of Dun Darrach, Dublin Road, Longford, told a Circuit Cout judge that she never believed her actions would go as far as they did.
During the alleged burglary at Holly Green, Clonbalt Woods, Longford on August 20th, 2020, her former partner Paul Adetunji suffered injuries to his face and knee.
Ms Patrick, who was 17 at the time of the offence, was charged with burglary following the incident and making a false statement to gardaí. A nolle prosequi was entered by the State in connection to the latter charge.
The court heard the accused, who now resides in the UK, was forced to relocate there due to a breakdown in her relationship with her peers and the fact two of her brothers no longer speak to her.
Shane Geraghty BL, prosecuting, said three co-accused teenagers currently before the courts had pleaded guilty to theft but not to aggravated burglary owing to their insistence no knife was produced in the commission of the offence.
Judge Keenan Johnson was told Ms Patrick had contacted Mr Adejunji on the day in question under the “false pretence” of giving the victim €80. Mr Geraghty said while Mr Adejunji was left confused by this request, he agreed.
It is alleged that Ms Patrick was upset over the recent ending of the pair’s relationship. When she arrived at the victim’s rented property, she intimated to Mr Adetunji that she had to go back outside to retrieve some lipstick and, in so doing, asked for his room key.
When she returned, the court heard Ms Patrick began kissing Mr Adejunji. Moments later three unidentified males entered his bedroom. Mr Adejunji told gardaí the trio attacked him and shouted: “Where is the money?”
Despite attempts to fend off the gang, Mr Adetunji was forced on to a chair with his hands tied behind his back with cable ties. A sock was placed in his mouth to prevent him from shouting for help.
Giving evidence, Det Garda Orla Geraghty said Mr Adetunji told her he had been suspicious of Ms Patrick’s demeanour, adding that while she “didn’t seem frightened”, one of the assailants called her by her first name.
Det Garda Geraghty said Mr Adetunji felt he had been “set up” by Ms Patrick.
“He said he was going to the Garda station and she said ‘please don’t go’ as she would get in trouble.”
Mr Adetunji suffered cuts to his lip and an injury to his knee in the alleged attack, the court heard. A voluntary cautioned witness statement was taken from Ms Patrick in August 2020, in which said she was punched in the face by one of the men.
She also told gardaí she was left distressed following the ending of the relationship and the way she was treated but did not complain about any alleged “sinister elements to the relationship”.
Det Garda Geraghty said Ms Patrick admitted holding a conversation with one accused, telling him: “I just want him beat.”
The court heard on the day of the incident, the three youths arrived into Longford Train Station from Dublin.
Det Garda Geraghty said she was satisfied as to Ms Patrick’s level of involvement in the incident.
“As far as I could see, it was done purposely to make out she [Ms Patrick] was a victim in all of this,” she said, adding Ms Patrick was cable-tied to the front with Mr Adejunji having his hands tied behind his back.
Dara Foynes, SC for Ms Patrick, said the accused and Mr Adetunji had since “made peace”. She said her client would suffer a high degree of “social opprobrium” with her name likely to be published and said she had endured significant hardship in her attempts to become a lawyer.
“She has effectively left Longford and lost all her friends over this,” said Ms Foynes. “She had to cease her college studies because she needed to get garda clearance to continue her studies.”
A letter of apology was also handed in, the contents of which Ms Patrick read out in open court. “To Paul, I am sorry for everything that took place,” she said. “Robbery was never my intention.”
Under direct questioning from Judge Johnson, Ms Patrick said it was the toxicity of her relationship with her ex-boyfriend that ultimately led to the incident. “He hurt me a lot and I wanted to hurt him too,” she said.
Judge Johnson described the incident from start to finish as “hare-brained” and “one of the most bizarre cases” he has come across as a Circuit Court judge.
He adjourned the case until October 3rd and ordered Ms Patrick to return to court with €7,500. In the event she adheres to those terms, he indicated he would apply Section 1(2) of the Probation Act.