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Teenage girls charged with "disgusting" robbery of Chinese man

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Teenage girls charged with "disgusting" robbery of Chinese man

TWO teenage girls have been charged after a Chinese man was allegedly knocked unconscious and had his phone and shoes stolen during a gang robbery in Dublin city-centre.

The pair, aged 14 and 17, have been remanded in custody after their parents told the Dublin Children's Court they would not stand bail. Judge William Early directed intervention of the Child & Family Agency (CRA) to determine if the girls will now need to be put into care.

Parents of both teenager said they would not take them home with one mother describing the incident and her daughter's alleged involvement as “disgusting”.

The teenagers, who have not yet entered pleas, are charged with robbery of the man, who is in his thirties, at Liffey Street in the early hours of Saturday morning. It is alleged he was knocked unconscious and that his €300 phone and shoes were taken from him during the incident.

The girls, who were in tears during their emotionally charged hearing, had spent two days in custody at a detention centre before being brought to appear before Judge Early at the juvenile court.

Solicitor Michelle Finan, who represents both girls, said bail terms had been approved but in each case the parents were not currently willing to take them home. As a result, they could not be released.

The teenage co-defendants had their cases dealt with separately with the younger girl going before the judge first. Addressing the court, her father explained why he would not stand bail for his daughter.

He said there has been problems with her behaviour for the past two years and that he has been “battling to keep her off the streets”. He claimed he spent nights searching the city for his daughter whom he said hangs around with older youths and men, and also takes drugs.

He said that at one point these people attacked him when he tried to bring her home and that put him in danger. He said her schooling is now “non-existent” and he tried to get her help and drug counselling from social services. However, he added, she kept “running the streets” and was not safe.

The girl's lawyer said the teen wanted a chance to talk to her father and believed that if she had five minutes with him she could convince him to take her back.

However, he refused and she continued crying with face buried in her hands.

Her father then told Judge Early he could not keep her safe and “she has been running too long now and her life is in danger, where she is now she is getting the help she needs because I cannot give it to her, and we have tried”.

As she was escorted from court the girl faced her father and threatened to kill herself before telling him “don't talk to me again”. “Sorry love,” he replied, on the verge of tears.

The second girl then faced the court and Ms Finan told Judge Early, “there's a similar position arises here”.

That girl's mother said “she is not welcome in my home, that is disgusting what she done”.

She said the 17-year-old, who was crying throughout the hearing, wanted to go into care.

“She thinks it's great to be in care,” the woman said adding, “she has been off the rails for the last 18 months, this is not a new thing.”

The case resumes later this month while gardai seek directions from the DPP.