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Dublin boy (13) produced knife and hammer during assault on teacher

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
On a number of occasions he fled from the Garda juvenile liaison officer
On a number of occasions he fled from the Garda juvenile liaison officer

A 13-year-old Dublin boy has avoided a sentence for possessing a knife and producing a hammer during an assault on his teacher.

He had his trial dropped yesterday/today after he was given a chance to be dealt with through a crime diversion programme instead.

He was accused of two offences arising out of an alleged incident at his secondary school in September. He was aged 12 at the time.

He was charged with production of a large hammer during an assault and unlawful possession of a knife as a weapon at his school. It allegedly happened during a meeting with his year head and a decision is awaited on whether or not he will be expelled.

In November, Judge John O'Connor granted an adjournment at the Dublin Children's Court for a special direction from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to be obtained.

Earlier, Judge O'Connor had explained to the boy and to his mother that due to the his young age, the direction was needed as to whether the case will go ahead.

However, when the case resumed on Thursday, the judge heard that gardai were seeking to have the case withdrawn. The court heard that this was to allow the youth be instead dealt with through their juvenile diversion project.

Until now there had been attempts to give the teenager this chance but he had avoided this opportunity. On a number of occasions he fled from the Garda juvenile liaison officer dealing with his case who had been trying to caution the teen.

Judge O'Connor agreed to strike out the charges but warned the boy, who was accompanied to court by an adult family member, that if he fails to take part in the Garda programme the case could come back to court.

At the end of the hearing, the teenager spoke briefly to say he understood and “Okay, thanks Judge” after he was urged to take the opportunity.

The boy must admit the offence to be included in the programme which gives young offenders the chance to avoid a criminal record.

The approach, an alternative to a court prosecution, may involve agreeing to engage in certain activities, attendance at a youth project or it may require the young person to report on particular occasions to a Garda juvenile liaison officer.

Directions from the DPP are also awaited connected to another prosecution brought against the boy. He still faces three counts of dangerous driving over an alleged incident in January.

Judge O'Connor said that due to the teen's young age, special directions were required as to whether this case should proceed.