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Choke attack teen to face taxi driver victim in court

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A DUBLIN youth, who began choking a taxi driver while his accomplice rained punches on him during a terrifying robbery, will come face to face with his victim at his sentence hearing this month.

The victim wants to give an impact statement in person, the Dublin Children’s Court was told.

The 17-year-old boy, who has significant mental health difficulties, is the second person to plead guilty at the Dublin Children’s Court to the robbery of the taxi driver on Feb. 25 last year at Comeragh Road, Drimnagh in Dublin.

In evidence, Garda Simon Halpin said that the boy and another youth got into the taxi at Dundrum Shopping Centre.

The defendant was sitting in the back while the second youth was in the front passenger seat. When they arrived at Drimnagh, the boy “put his arms around the driver and began choking him and the other youth began punching him”, Gda Halpin said.

This went on for a few minutes until the driver put his hand on the horn to get the attention of the people in the area.

The boy ran but was stopped at Suir Road.

During the robbery, €40 and a €500 iPhone were taken but the phone was later recovered. The victim attended Beaumont Hospital and a medical report was handed in to the court which was also told he has made a full recovery from his physical injuries.

Gda Halpin agreed with the defence that the youth had been under the influence of intoxicants at the time and that drugs had played a role. He had no prior criminal convictions and has not come to Garda attention since, the court also heard.

Mr Keenan said the youth, who was accompanied to court by his mother, has significant mental and learning difficulties. He has been diagnosed as non-verbal and has been getting treatment and medication

On the day of the robbery he had take benzodiazepines and is apologetic, Judge John O’Connor was told. He also noted that there was a history of schizophrenia.

The youth had educational difficulties but has finished school and is looking for an apprenticeship, the court was told.

Defence counsel Damian McKeone also furnished the court with an updated report in the youth which was compiled by an educational psychologist.

Judge John O’Connor adjourned sentencing for a probation report on the youth to be furnished. The victim wants to come to court to give his victim impact statement in person, the judge also heard.

Another youth was given a six-month custodial sentence earlier for his role in the robbery.