14-year-old may be tried for savage robbery at circuit court
THE Director of Public Prosecutions has recommended a 14-year-old girl should be tried at circuit court level over a Dublin city-centre gang robbery during which a Chinese man was knocked unconscious.
The girl appeared at the Dublin Children's Court yesterday where Judge John O'Connor was told that the DPP says the the girl should face “trial on indictment”. This means she should be tried in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.
However, the juvenile court can consider accepting jurisdiction by taking into consideration a defendant's age and level of maturity.
Judge O'Connor adjourned the case for two weeks when the defence will make submissions in relation to the trial venue issue. The girl, who was accompanied to court by her father, was remanded on continuing bail.
The judge has described CCTV footage of the robbery as “pure savage”.
The girl is the youngest member of a group of teens charged with the robbery.
The man, who is in his late twenties, was knocked unconscious and that his €300 phone and shoes were taken from him during the incident, at Liffey Street in the early hours of June 10th last.
In July the girl spent a stint in custody on remand after her family refused to take her home. Her father had said there has been problems with her behaviour for the past two years and that he has been “battling to keep her off the streets”.
He claimed he spent nights searching the city for his daughter whom he said hangs around with older youths and men, and also takes drugs.
He said that at one point these people attacked him when he tried to bring her home and that put him in danger.
He said her schooling has became “non-existent” and he tried to get her help and drug counselling from social services. However, he added, she kept “running the streets” and was not safe.
He later agreed to take her home and she has been ordered to obey several bail terms.
An 18-year-old youth, who has pleaded guilty at the juvenile court to his part in the mugging, was remanded on continuing bail to appear again in December for sentencing.
Four other youths are also awaiting hearings in the city's juvenile court.
Charges against a 17-year-old girl were dropped when the DPP agreed to allow her to be dealt with through the Garda juvenile diversion programme. The scheme is aimed at steering young first time offenders away from crime and involves being cautioned but will not result in having a criminal record.