13-year-old knife wielding mugger gets second chance

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
13-year-old knife wielding mugger gets second chance

A THEN 12-year-old boy, who brandished a pocket-knife during a mugging in Dublin, has been spared a criminal record as well a possible sentence.

The boy, now aged 13, had pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to robbing a mobile phone from a young male on a date in May last year. He also faced a connected charge for production of a pocket-knife in a manner likely to intimidate during the incident.

Judge John O'Connor was furnished with a pre-sentence probation report on the boy.

He said he was noting that the report raised concerns about the boy being “led on” by an older sibling and needing to accept responsibility about his criminal behaviour. He also a noted from the defence counsel Damian McKeone that this could be due to boy being so young. 

The judge said there were also positive factors in relation to his education and engagement with social services and a programme which helps young people and their families.

He also noted that the boy and his mother had co-operated with the Probation Service which found the teen is now at a low risk of re-offending and that further intervention from them was unnecessary. Verbal engagement during probation meetings had to be encouraged by his mother who also attended the hearing today.

Judge O'Connor said that in view of the boy's young age and engagement with the Probation Service he was marking the case as facts proved. However, he went onto to say he was striking it out, meaning the youngster, who did not address the court, has been spared a criminal record as well as a possible sentence.

The court had heard it was alleged the boy along with two others approached and “asked to look at the male's phone” and the teen then, “knocked it out of his hand”.

Garda Kevin Kennedy had said it was claimed that when the phone's owner tried to pick it up he was prevented by a person with the boy and who had been armed with a wooden pole.

At that point, the then 12-year-old defendant took the phone, it was claimed.

The victim approached the boy, who “produced a small pocket-knife and he backed away”, the court heard. The garda retrieved the phone after seeing the boy drop it, the court has heard.

For the duration of the case, which has been before the juvenile court on many dates for several months, the teen has been warned he could not contact or associate with a number of named individuals and he had to stay away from the location of the robbery.

The court also had heard that efforts were being made to get him back into school and he was getting home tuition.