No jail for teen who flung lighter at garda
A YOUTH, who threw a cigarette lighter at a garda during a political protest in Dublin last year, has been spared a sentence.
The 17-year-old boy pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to assaulting the officer during a rally on Molesworth Street on September 18 last year.
Judge John O'Connor noted there were concerns about the teenager being aggressive when he has drink taken and that he has continued to pick up charges.
However, he also said the youth had completed a Probation Service action plan of restorative justices tasks, which had been carried out of the last three months.
He marked the case facts proven and struck it out sparing the youth a criminal record as well as a possible sentence for the incident.
Garda Sergeant Ronan Waldron had told Judge O'Connor a “demonstration was taking place in relation to the reconvening of the Dail.”
The court also heard that objects were thrown at gardai after pepper spray was deployed.
The boy threw the lighter which hit a garda on the hand but did not cause any injuries.
The teenager, who has no previous criminal convictions, was arrested along with several other protesters; when he was questioned he identified himself on CCTV footage and admitted throwing items.
The juvenile court was told the first-time offender was not the main antagonist and had "got swept up in the situation and acted inappropriately”.
The defence said the teen is involved in sports and is also actively looking for employment. He is taking part in a training course, has already received some qualifications and has been busy applying for jobs. He feared a criminal conviction could make it difficult to find employment, his lawyer has said in pleas for leniency.
Judge O'Connor has also told the teen that he was entitled to protest but not in this way.
Defence counsel Damian McKeone said that while new charges have been brought against the youth, it is expected that they will be dropped as the youth's father is the complainant. The teenager also told the court he does not drink alcohol frequently.