Teen boy who raped girl in Dublin park sentenced to 16 months’ detention

The court was told there was no space available in Oberstown detention centre for the boy

A teenage boy who raped a girl in a park, putting his hands around her throat and telling her she was his “slut”, has been sentenced to 16 months’ detention.

However, there is no space available in Oberstown Children Detention Campus for the boy who, as a result, was remanded on continuing bail in the Central Criminal Court on Monday until a space becomes available.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said he was “not greatly impressed” there was no space available for the boy, who is due to turn 18 soon.

The judge said he was conscious the boy would be transferred to an adult prison shortly after his 18th birthday and said he had structured the 16-month sentence to ensure there was a transition period before this happened.


The 17-year-old Dublin boy, who can’t be named because he is a juvenile, was found guilty by a jury of one count of raping the girl in a Dublin park on June 29th, 2021. He was 16 years old at the time and she was 15 years old.

The pair met over Snapchat and the rape took place during their first meeting, a local garda detective told Cathleen Noctor SC, prosecuting. The court heard he brought the girl into a bush, where she thought he was going to have a cigarette, before some consensual sexual activity took place.

However, after the boy started having sexual intercourse with the girl, he put his hands around her throat and told her she was going to be his slut and do whatever he wanted. The girl froze in fear before repeatedly begging the boy to stop, while he kept saying: “One more minute,” the court heard.

The rape ended after the girl pushed the boy, and he then shoved her to the ground and refused to help her clean herself up. The trial, which took place in January, heard it was the girl’s first sexual experience.

In a lengthy victim impact statement which she read out in court, the now 16-year-old girl said the boy treated her like dirt, left her bleeding and frightened in the park, was “so selfish and cold” and showed no emotion until he was found guilty by the jury.

“He took away my curious innocence,” the girl said. “I was a happy, outgoing young girl. He took so much of me that can’t be undone.”

She said she would never forgive the boy for putting her through a trial which she described as “devastating”.

“Listening to him lying in the stand and not being able to scream [that] he was lying was torture to me,” she said. She said she was made to feel like she was lying or stupid when being cross-examined, which she described as a terrible experience.

The girl outlined the difficulties she has experienced since the rape, including self-harm, suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression and nightmares. She was a keen athlete but her participation in sport had suffered since the attack, the court heard.

Her parents had struggled with the fact their “worst nightmare” happened to their daughter and her siblings had also been affected, she said. “Looking back, I feel so stupid for trusting him,” she said. “Now that trust is completely gone.”

Sentencing the boy on Monday, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said it was a case where “two very young people have gone through a process in this court that not many adults have to go through”.

The judge emphasised that given the ages of the parties involved, he was effectively sitting in the Children’s Court. He said that under the law, any sentence handed down had to be based on rehabilitation, with custody as a last resort.

The judge said he also had to have regard for the victim in this case and the effect it has had on her. He said she had shown great courage in coming to court and reading her victim impact statement which he described as “eloquent and extensive”.

Mr Justice McDermott said if the boy had been an adult at the time of the offence, he would have sentenced him to four-five years’ imprisonment. Given the fact he is a child, the judge set a headline sentence of two years’ detention, which he reduced to 16 months taking mitigation into account.

“Virtually everything in your life is positive apart from this,” the judge told the boy, noting he was doing well in school, working part-time and had plans for third-level education. “I’m conscious of the effect of what I’m going to do is interrupt your education, something no parent or court wants to do.” However, he said a custodial sentence was inevitable, given the serious nature of the offence.

“The realisation of what you did and the wrong it caused seems to me like it requires a lot more work,” the judge said, noting there were programmes on consent and personal boundaries that the boy could undertake in detention.

In light of the lack of space in Oberstown, the case was adjourned to Tuesday for an update. Mr Justice McDermott ruled that the sentence be backdated to today’s date. The boy sat between both his parents holding both their hands as the sentence was handed down.

During the trial, he took the stand and said he repeatedly asked the girl if she was okay during their encounter. He said he asked if the girl wanted him to stop and when she said yes, he did so.

The court heard the boy now accepts the verdict of the jury and he wrote letters of apology to the girl and the judge. He has no previous convictions. He was acquitted by the jury of two other offences.

Ms Noctor said the girl was “grateful” for the acknowledgment of guilt from the boy, but that she wished it had come sooner. Ms Noctor said the view of the Director of Public Prosecutions was that if the boy had been an adult at the time, the appropriate sentence for the offence would have been seven to 10 years.

The court heard that shortly after the rape, the boy sent the girl a Snapchat message saying “Don’t tell anybody,” before she blocked him. The girl went to her friend’s house from the park and told her what happened. She later rang another friend and told her, before this girl’s older sister found out and alerted the girl’s parents.

The girl was examined in hospital and gave a statement to gardaí. She told her parents she had thrown the clothes she was wearing into a skip and these were retrieved and given to gardaí.

The boy was arrested and his home was searched. He made no admissions to gardaí beyond telling them that the sexual activity was consensual.

Seamus Clarke SC, defending, handed in a number of testimonials on behalf of the boy, including from his school where he was described as a “diligent” and “conscientious” student. He works part-time in a shop and his employer described him as “caring, well-mannered and respectful young man”.

The boy told a psychologist that his interaction with the girl was his second sexual experience. He has been deemed by the Probation Service as being at a low risk of sexual reoffending. Mr Clarke said the letter of apology written by the boy showed his remorse and “acknowledged the substantial traumatic impact on her life”.