Young thug crashed robbed car into Liffey - got bail - then beat up pensioner and stole his car
A 17-year-old who crashed a stolen car into the river Liffey at Celbridge while being chased by gardai from a burglary scene has been given one year’s detention.
The court heard the teenager was arrested after being taken from the water but later released on bail because there was no suitable place for him to stay. Within 48 hours he had assaulted a man in his eighties, knocking him to the ground, as he stole the man's car.
The teenager, who cannot be identified as he is a minor, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary, dangerous driving and criminal damage to a bridge on April 13, 2016.
He further pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a car, assault and driving without a licence or insurance on April 15, 2016. The teen has 11 previous convictions including public order offences, criminal damage, assault and possession of stolen property.
Judge Pauline Codd noted that a probation report before the court outlined that although the accused had initially indicated he was willing to engage with the probation services he later said he had no interest in doing so and his only motivation was a possible reduction in the sentence.
The accused boy told his defence counsel, Anne Marie Lawlor BL, that he was in a “real bad humour” when he met the probation officer who prepared the report.
He said he had been on 23 hour lock up for the two days prior to the meeting and was not in the humour for answering questions. He said he was now drug free and was willing to go to a drug counsellor or give urines. “Whatever it takes,” he told the judge.
He said when he was released he was going to stay clean, get back to family life and try to get a job.
He told Judge Codd he would fully co-operate and was willing to address his anger issues.
Ms Lawlor told the court the accused had ADHD and needed intervention and assistance going forward in his life. She said he was now completely drug free and willing to do whatever was necessary in order to progress his rehabilitation and re-engage with society in a positive way.
She said he was remorseful for what had happened to the elderly man
Judge Codd noted that under section 96 of the Children Act 2001 any penalty imposed on a child should take the least restrictive form that was appropriate in the circumstances and detention should be a last resort.
She said in the first offence it was lucky that neither himself nor a member of the public was seriously injured. She said in the second offence he had preyed on an easy target in the elderly man but noted his guilty plea and expressions of remorse.
She imposed a three year sentence of detention but suspended the final two years.
Garda Gerry Smyth told James Dwyer BL, prosecuting, that a homeowner at an address in Lucan was awoken by her neighbour alerting her to the fact she had been burgled. Her neighbour had spotted two men coming from her house and loading a TV into a car.
As she spoke to her neighbour she spotted her car being driven down the road in convoy with a second car. This accused was driving a Hyundai while his co-accused drove a Volkswagen Polo.
Gardai gave chase to the cars and tried to block them leaving the estate but the Polo crashed into the patrol car. The two cars then mounted the pavement and exited the estate.
Gda Smyth said both cars drove towards Celbridge at high speed, with no regard for lanes, traffic signals or lights. The gardai chased the cars for five kilometres before the Hyundai, driven by this accused, drove through a bridge wall and fell straight down into the river Liffey.
The second car then followed the Hyundai through the gap in the wall and landed 40 feet down the river. Gardai searched the cars for signs of life but found the defendants gone.
They found the co-accused clinging to a pipe nearby and sometime later found this accused in the water suffering from the cold. The boys were arrested and interviewed.
This accused was brought before the Childrens Court but as he was unable to go home and there was no place available that day for defendant his age to stay he was released on bail.
His co-accused received a two and a half year sentence with the final year and a half suspended earlier this year.
Gda Smith agreed with Ms Lawlor that the accused was clearly intoxicated on the night.
Garda Graham Doolin said that on April 15th 2016 a man in his eighties had stopped his car outside his home and got out to open the gate. The elderly man said “a fella” came along on a push bike and jumped into his car.
He said the accused man slammed the door into him as he tried to stop him, knocking him to the ground. The accused shouted something and drove off in the car which was later found abandoned
The accused was later arrested and told gardai he had blacked out and could not remember what had happened. He said he had taken a large amount of tablets.
Gda Doolin agreed that the accused was remorseful for what happened the elderly man.
Ms Lawlor said there was a huge amount of negative material in the probation report before the court and her instructions were at odds with the unwillingness to engage outlined in the report.
She said the accused was abusing prescribed drugs at the time but was now completely drug free and that could give the court some confidence as he faced into adulthood.