Teen thug sentenced to four years

Teen thug sentenced to four years

A Dublin teenager who committed a string of crimes in the space of a month – including holding a knife to a 16-year-old's face and stabbing a man with a barbecue fork – has been sentenced to four years.

Karl Smith, (19) of Rutland Avenue, Crumlin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Devon Whiston (21), threatening to kill a 16-year-old boy, criminal damage to a front door and two counts of producing a weapon.

Judge Patrick McCartan suspended the last two years of the four term on strict conditions.

He said Smith has to face the consequences of his behaviour, particularly towards Mr Whiston, “whose life has been turned upside down”.

The judge said he was prepared to give Smith “considerable leniency” to encourage him to “mend his ways and behave himself into the future”.

“He has a lot going for him which if put to good use will produce something,” Judge McCartan said before wishing Smith best of luck.

Judge McCartan adjourned the case last June on hearing evidence until today and ordered both a probation report and a psychiatric report.

Caroline Biggs SC, defending said the report assessed Smith as having social anxiety and suffering paranoia. She said he was now drug free and had taken up educational opportunities while on remand in prison.

Counsel submitted that the hope for Smith's rehabilitation was “a real one”.

At a sentence hearing in June, Garda Michael Redmond said that Smith, then aged 18, banged on the door of the house belonging to Mr Whiston in the early hours of the morning on May 30, 2015.

Mr Whiston and his house-mate were acquainted with Smith and were afraid of him. “They knew the company he kept and that fear alone was enough to not stand in his way,” Gda Redmond said.

After Smith damaged the door, Mr Whiston let him in. Smith then walked into the kitchen, grabbed a steak knife and refused to let Mr Whiston, his female lodger and two other men leave.

“He wouldn't let them leave, he was being abusive and they were in fear,” Gda Redmond said, adding it was clear to the group that Smith was intoxicated and on drugs.

The court heard Smith eventually calmed down and Mr Whiston left the scene to go to work. However, two weeks later, on June 15, he woke up on his couch to find Smith standing over him.

Gda Redmond told Maddie Grant BL, prosecuting that Smith initially had an amicable conversation with Mr Whiston before he became increasingly “erratic” and a fight broke out.

He bit Mr Whiston's arm and stabbed him in the leg with a barbecue fork he took from the kitchen, Gda Redmond said.

Smith then beat Mr Whiston with a rolling pin before robbing a number of items from the house including a TV, an X-Box gaming system and a computer.

Mr Whiston contacted gardaí the next morning and reported both incidents to them. Gda Redmond said Mr Whiston was “absolutely petrified” after the incident and sold his house as a result.

Gda Redmond agreed with Ms Biggs that there was “no rhyme or reason” to Smith's behaviour, which was “drug-fuelled and drug-induced”.

A couple of weeks later, on June 27 2015, Smith gate-crashed a house party with several 16-year-olds present.

Garda Paul Kelly told Ms Grant that Smith became increasingly aggressive before grabbing a knife in the kitchen, holding it to the face of one boy present, cutting his cheek and threatening to kill him.

Another boy escaped the house – injuring his hip in the process – and alerted gardaí. When gardaí arrived they found the house empty and three teenagers hiding in the garden.

Smith returned to the scene and was arrested, Gda Kelly said. He later told gardaí he had no recollection of the events as he had taken drugs and alcohol that night.

The court heard Smith, who is currently on remand for a public order offence, has five convictions for offences which occurred after this date.

Ms Biggs said Smith's behaviour had spiralled out of control in a short space of time. She said he had no previous convictions before he turned 18, but had become dependent on prescription drugs.

“That misuse stems from mental health difficulties that arose in 2014,” Ms Biggs said. She asked that the case be adjourned so a psychiatric report could be obtained.