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Teen girls in more assaults says city judge

A judge has expressed concern at an "emerging pattern" of young women coming before the courts for violent crimes.

Judge Tony Hunt made the comment after hearing that a girl kicked a passer-by, who was laying on the ground, and stole her handbag.

He said he had noticed several young women come before him recently for offences usually associated with young men.

"It seems the tentacles of equality have spread into criminal law," he said.

"I'm used to young men engaging in this type of behaviour. It seems young women feel they are also entitled to engage in this carry-on."

Claire Lawlor (20), of Abbeyvale Place, Swords, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and stealing a handbag from Pamela Walsh at Walton Hall, Swords, on November 24, 2007.

Garda Pamela Hart told prosecuting counsel Anne Marie Lawlor that Ms Walsh was walking home with her friend from a night out when they came across three girls and two boys standing in the street.

Punched

One of the girls asked her for a cigarette and Ms Walsh replied she did not have any.

The two boys then started attacking her male friend and he hit them back.

The court heard that one of the girls shouted, "Ah, don't you be shouting at my fella."

Ms Walsh was then attacked by the girls, including Lawlor (then 18), who punched and kicked her repeatedly as she lay on the ground.

The gang took her bag -- containing €400, $80, her credit cards and phone -- and ran off.

Lawlor was arrested shortly after, but initially denied the assault. She later admitted she had punched and kicked Ms Walsh and divided up the money with a co-accused.

Gda Hart said Lawlor has nine previous convictions for road traffic matters and theft, and had a six-month-old son.

Defence counsel Gerardine Small said her client came from a very respectable family, but had been "hanging around with the wrong people".

She had €500 in court in compensation for Ms Walsh.

Judge Hunt adjourned the matter until March for the preparation of a probation report and ordered Lawlor to bring another €500 to court.

hnews@herald.ie