Teen to face trial over violent LUAS robbery and assault

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
The alleged incident is said to have taken place on the Red Line
The alleged incident is said to have taken place on the Red Line

A 17-YEAR-OLD boy has been sent forward for trial over a vicious robbery of a passenger travelling on a Luas tram in Dublin.

The boy appeared at the Dublin Children's Court on Wednesday to be served with a book of evidence. He is charged with assault causing harm, robbery and criminal damage charges arising out of the incident on Aug. 3 last when the Luas was approaching the Blackhorse stop on Davitt Road.

The court has heard the teenager started using cocktails of drugs and alcohol after learning that his father's death was caused by suicide

Judge John O'Connor said the CCTV evidence identified the boy very clearly and it was a premeditated robbery. He held the case was too serious for the juvenile court and refused jurisdiction.

He made an order sending the boy forward for trial to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, which has tougher sentencing powers. The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother and his lawyer, will face his next hearing on May 27.

Earlier an outline of the allegations was given for the purpose of deciding jurisdiction. Garda Michael Muldoon had told Judge O'Connor that the youth, then aged 16, and another male boarded the tram. He said the teenager, who was at large at the time, robbed a phone from a man who tried to retrieve it but was struck a number of times by the pair.

Gda Muldoon pointed out that the defendant instigated the incident.

Gda Muldoon played the CCTV footage which showed the boy in a hooded top walking around the carriage and looking at the man's phone before walking back to his accomplice.

The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, then walked back to the man and grabbed the phone.

The victim stood up and tried to get it back but received a flurry of left and right hand punches from the teenager who was joined in the attack by a second male, an adult facing separate proceedings.

The Luas driver brought brought the tram to a stop but kept the doors locked. The CCTV showed the robbers pacing up and down the packed tram and the teenager was allegedly still in possession of the man's phone.

He was then shown on the putting his foot through a window on one of the doors through which he and the second male fled.

The defence had said the teenager had been unlawfully at large at the time and was trying to get money to get back to his own locality. The court heard the boy had lived with his mother before he went into voluntary care.

His father died in tragic circumstances when he was very young and his mother pin-pointed that as a turning point in the boy's life. The teenager was expelled from secondary school on his first year, he has “poly-substance” and alcohol abuse problems.

He has been left with literacy problems and he associated with older negative peer groups, the juvenile court was told.

He was also found to have Oppositional Defiant Disorder but when he went into care he obeyed all the rules at his children's home. A place is available for him to return to the facility in which there was a “therapeutic element” to his care, the court was told. The teenager is in custody on remand.