Bullied by their parents, a band of teenagers from Derry’s west end are now facing court after a mob threatened to kill them after being accused of having a “bad reputation” in the town.
The band of youths, who are known as the ‘Bully Boys’, are facing charges of possession of drugs, possession of offensive weapons and criminal damage to property after they were caught with cannabis and MDMA.
The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named, is accused of being part of a group of teenagers who were stopped by police in front of a local convenience store on March 1, which resulted in the arrests of four men and the seizure of two mobile phones.
The court heard the boys were “not particularly good friends” and said the incident made them “look bad” among the crowd.
The boy is also accused of threatening to kill himself after being stopped by a passerby, while two other members of the group are also being investigated by gardai.
One of the youths, 19-year old Kieran McGowan, was charged with a public order offence and has been remanded in custody for two weeks.
He will appear at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on April 11.
Another 17-years-old was charged under the Drugs Act with possessing a prohibited substance and is due to appear at the same court on April 12.
The trio were also charged with two counts of possession with intent to supply drugs.
Both charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Gardai believe the boys will face a range of charges.
One, 17-yo Kieran, is alleged to have been part of an “outrageous and unprovoked attack” on a police officer during the early hours of March 3 when he was stopped by the same officer in the Derry area of the city.
The group of boys was stopped at the entrance to a convenience store when police were called by neighbours to check on the welfare of the “bully” youths.
It is alleged that they were searched before being taken to the police station where a witness said they were taken to an isolated part of the street where “one of them was given a blanket and a pillow to sleep on”.
The alleged victim, who is now 16, has not been named in court.
Mr McGowan’s father, Joe McGowan said his son was “extremely traumatised” by what had happened and that he was “disgusted and ashamed” at what had taken place.
He said he had spoken to gardai and they had said he could face a long prison sentence for the “horrific” crime.
The incident is the latest in a string of police and Gardai action against the band of youth who have been accused of stealing from shops and attacking police.
The boys are also accused in relation to a previous incident in which gardai were called to the family home in the early morning hours of December 15 to remove a pair of shoes from a bedroom.
Gda James McCrory said he and gardai had been called to investigate a “potential drug dealing” in relation the theft of “two pairs of shoes” from the home of the band’s father.
He told the Dail that gardai believed the boy’s parents, who were not at home at the time, had “no reason to believe” the group was responsible for the theft.
Gedda said he was aware of the case against the boys and said they had been told by gardaí that they had committed an offence against the law and that a criminal investigation was underway.
“This is a serious matter which I have been told to keep under review,” he said.
Gavin Mackey, who has been a member of the ‘bully boys’ for a number of years, said the group had “become a huge sensation”.
“They are not really popular, but I guess they have a bad reputation,” he told the Irish Times.
“People just look at them as a bunch of little troublemakers and it’s very annoying to see them at the end of the day.”
The other boys have made a lot of money off of it.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen, I don’t think the boys have anything to worry about.”
A Derry City Council spokesman said the council had been informed of the charges.
He added that council had also been in contact with gardai, and the council was reviewing its position on the matter.
Gerry O’Leary, chief executive of the Irish Music Awards, said he believed the case would be heard in the courts.
He expressed concern that there was a danger of a miscarriage of justice.
“As far as the Irish music awards are concerned, this is a matter which will have a very serious impact on the credibility of the awards, it will cause problems with the awarding of the finalist and it will create a great deal of distress for the