DUBLIN – A judge has described as “depressing” an attack on a Zimbabwean man during which he was punched 18 times, kicked 13 times, kneed three times to the side of his head, stamped on seven times and stabbed four times.
Two teenagers who were captured on CCTV brutally beating the man before robbing his mobile phone were given five-and-a-half year sentences at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. 18 months of the sentence was suspended for one of the attackers – the other had almost four years of the sentence suspended.
Aaron Eccles (18) and Niall Brooks (18) were described by their victim, Charles Goromonzi (57), as “evil”.
CCTV footage of the robbery shown in court depicted Goromonzi walking alone at 9.30pm before being randomly set upon by Brooks, Eccles and a third man.
Eccles, of Brookview Close, and Brooks, of The Rise, Kiltipper Gate, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty to robbery of a Nokia Lumina 625 phone at Sundale Heights, Tallaght on July 29, 2014.
The kicks to the victim were mostly to his head. He was also held on the ground by the pair with his arms outstretched.
He suffered wounds to his head, wrists and knees.
He described in his victim impact statement how, after coming to Ireland from strife-torn Zimbabwe, he feared he would be killed that night by the teenage robbers in Tallaght.
Judge Martin Nolan said anyone who viewed the CCTV footage could not fail to be depressed at the sheer violence of the robbery which had been carried out for a very small profit.
He said it was lucky for everyone that Goromonzi had not sustained far more serious injuries.
Judge Nolan said the pair deserved some form of punishment but the overriding concern in sentencing young people was to try to reform them.
He noted both accused had similar difficulties in their background with the principal difference being that Brooks did not have any history of convictions.
Judge Nolan imposed five and a half year sentences on both. He suspended the final 18 months for Eccles and suspended the final three years and nine months in the case of Brooks. He ordered 18 months post-release supervision by the Probation Service for both.
Eccles has 29 previous convictions which include three for assault causing harm and one for animal cruelty which involved over-working a pony. Brooks has no previous convictions.
Both teenagers were interviewed by gardaí (police) and shown the CCTV. During interview they denied stabbing Goromonzi or stealing his phone.
Brooks told gardaí he was disgusted at himself and “very sorry” and Eccles wrote a letter to the court apologising for his actions.
Defence counsel for the teens, both of whom suffer from ADHD, said they were intoxicated by drugs or drink at the time of the robbery.