Teenager led gardai on high-speed chase the wrong way up the quays

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Dublin's quays
Dublin's quays

A teenager is awaiting sentence for leading gardai on a high-speed car chase in which he drove against the flow of traffic along the quays in Dublin city-centre.

The 17-year-old boy had been banned from driving just months before the incident which ended when he went the wrong way at Ushers Island. 

At one point during his attempt to escape capture he reached speeds of 120 kph in a 50kph zone, the Dublin Children's Court heard.

Judge John O'Connor warned the teenager, who will be sentenced next month, that he was “at a high risk of going into custody for a considerable period.”

The youth, a convicted drug dealer, pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving as well as failing to stop for gardai and not having a licence or motor insurance in connection with the incident on the night of January 13 last.

The teenager, who already had 38 prior criminal convictions, had also been given two four-year road bans in 2014 for earlier motoring offences. The judge asked for a Probation Service pre-sentence report on the youth to be furnished to the court.

Garda Michael Mullen said he saw two males acting suspiciously in two cars. The teen drove off and the garda got out of his patrol car signalling him to stop but the boy sped past him.

He turned on to Manor Street and “travelled at 120 kph in a 50 kph area” and Gda Mullen said the youth drove erratically while several members of the public were present. 

The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, also ran three red lights as he sped along Blackhall Place and crossed James Joyce Bridge, the court heard.

He turned left and went against the flow of traffic at Ushers Island for about 100 metres “before mounting a footpath and coming to stop”. The teenager “bought the car that day for a couple of hundred euro”, said Gda Mullen.

“You have been before me so many times, you put your own life at risk and so many other people's,” Judge O'Connor told the boy, who was accompanied to court by his parents.

During the same hearing the teen was also found guilty of possessing a stolen bottle of aftershave on a date in March.

Judge O'Connor noted from defence counsel that the court was “well familiar” with the boy and the judge recalled the chances given to the teen in the past.

The court was given a breakdown of the boy's criminal record: 20 convictions for motoring offences including five for not having insurance, 10 public order charges, four drugs charges, two thefts and two criminal damage offences.

The teenager had been given 200 hours' community service in September last year for drug dealing and two four-year road bans were also handed down in the same month for some of his previous motoring crimes.

Judge John O'Connor said that at that stage the boy had been “close to going in” and will need to get a good probation report as he is at a high-risk of getting a custodial sentence.