Dublin teenager threatened to slit young man's throat with broken bottle

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Preston Street, North Dublin city, where the incident took place (Image via Google Maps)
Preston Street, North Dublin city, where the incident took place (Image via Google Maps)

A THEN 14-year-old Dublin boy, who held a young man against his will and threatened to slit his throat with a broken bottle, has been detained for an additional five months.

The now 15-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to the false imprisonment and robbery in connection with the incident in central Dublin at 5am on June 2 last.

The Dublin Children's Court heard that the 19-year-old man was drunk when he was befriended, before he was held for 15 minutes by youths armed with a broken bottles. His bank card was taken and used to withdraw €220 from his account.

The boy, who was in care, was originally sentenced to five months detention in September by Judge John O'Connor. He also ordered that the boy must remain on supervised probation for five months following his release.

However, since getting out in February the teenager broke the terms and continued to come to garda attention.  He did not engage with drug counselling or a one-to-one tuition programme set up to help get him back into education. 

He has been out of mainstream education since primary school.  He has also gone missing from care. The boy had done best, educationally, when he was in custody, the court heard. 

Defence solicitor Aonghus McCarthy said the teenager felt he had successfully quit drugs, having been addicted to Benzodiazepine tablets. He hadn't engaged with tuition because he wanted to get back into normal education but welfare agencies felt he was not yet ready.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother and care staff, did not address the court.

Judge O'Connor said the teenager "thrives in detention" but when released will not comply with a care plan and needs to get out of this cycle, particularly drug abuse. For breaching the post-release supervision order, he detained the teenager, who remained silent, for a further five months.

Garda John Saunderson told the court that the victim had gone out with colleagues in the city centre and became intoxicated. At 5am, he tried to get an early train home from Connolly station but it was closed and he sat down at a nearby street. 

Two teenagers approached him and started talking to him and asked him for €10, which was handed over. Gda Saunderson said the young man walked with the boys to Amiens St, where he agreed to go into a shop to buy them cigarettes.

"When he walked back to the youths it would be alleged they were in possession of broken bottles. The injured party was threatened with these broken bottles and was escorted to Preston St, a cul-de-sac off Amiens Street," said Gda Saunderson.

"He was searched by the two youths and handed over his debit card and mobile. They handed back the mobile phone and told told him to unlock it, he unlocked it and attempted to ring his father but he was caught by the robbers and they threatened to slit his throat," the garda said.

"I was terrified they were going to stab me so I complied," the 19-year-old said in his statement to gardai. The court heard one youth remained with him in the cul-de-sac for 15 minutes while the defendant went to an ATM with his bank card and withdrew €220.

The youths walked him to Connolly train station "and instructed him not to say anything to gardai and to go home". Gda Saunderson said the young man is now afraid at night time.

The defence said the boy was two years younger than a co-accused. Solicitor Aonghus McCarthy said no physical assault was carried out the incident was not premeditated but was an opportunistic event that escalated very quickly and "was like a switch was tripped".

He said the boy had been intoxicated and had been living in hostel accommodation at the time and was planning to attend drug abuse therapy. Earlier the court was told he had a record of absconding from care and spent time staying in emergency hostels.