NewsCourts

Teen thought he'd be 'whacked' over drug debt

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Teen thought he'd be 'whacked' over drug debt

A BALACLAVA masked youth armed with a knife tried to rob a restaurant because he thought he was going to be “whacked” over a drug-debt, a court has heard.

However Dublin Children's Court was told his balaclava was such “poor quality” a staff member recognised the 17-year-old boy who fled empty-handed.

The teenager, who cannot be named because he is a juvenile, pleaded guilty today to attempted robbery in connection with the raid at the China Kitchen in Leixlip in Co. Kildare on November 3 last.

Judge John O'Connor was told was told the teenager entered the Chinese restaurant and threw a pouch at a female staff member before telling her “give us the money”. He was brandishing a knife and wearing a balaclava at the time.

However, Judge O'Connor heard the teen's balaclava was of poor quality and the restaurant worker could still recognise him. The staff refused to give him any money and the court also heard the youth appeared to have been more afraid than them.

The teenager ran away and when he encountered a garda he told the officer what he had done and where he had discarded the knife and balaclava.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble told Judge O'Connor that the teenager had a cannabis debt and owed several hundred euro. The court heard the teen thought he was in danger and “ he was afraid he was going to be whacked”.

His mother has since paid his debt to the drug-dealers who are no longer willing to sell to him.

Prosecuting Garda Conor Morris agreed with the lawyer that it was an unsophisticated, “ham-fisted” crime.

Judge John O'Connor remanded the teen on bail pending sentence to appear again on July 20 when probation report will be furnished to the court.

The report must address the teen's drug taking and victim impact, the judge directed.