Youths face circuit court over alleged crime spree

Youths face circuit court over alleged crime spree

TWO Dublin youths are to face trial after a teenage boy sustained serious head injuries including a bleed on the brain when he was attacked during an alleged crime spree.

The defendants, aged 17 and 16, appeared at the Dublin Children's Court to face assault and robbery charges.

However, Judge John O'Connor refused jurisdiction meaning the pair will be tried in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers. The case was adjourned to allow the State prepare books of evidence.

The incidents during which five teenage boys were allegedly targeted happened over the space of one week in April this year in Tallaght in Dublin.

Judge O'Connor heard it is alleged that on April 22 a  boy, who is in his mid-teens, and another boy were robbed at a residential area. One of them lost some teeth which has required dental work costing thousands of euro.

In an outline of the allegations, Det Garda Kieran Kilcoyne told the juvenile court that one week later another boy was robbed of €1 at the same location during a mugging in which he was allegedly kicked in the head. Two fifty cent coins alleged to have been taken from him were later found on the 17-year-old, the juvenile court heard.

On the same date another teenage boy was allegedly mugged by the pair at the Square Shopping Centre and had his phone valued €400 stolen. Another boy was also robbed at the same location and he too had his phone stolen, it is alleged.

It is alleged they attacked one of the boys who had been robbed a week earlier. He sustained serious head injuries including a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain.

The juvenile court can accept jurisdiction for cases involving serious allegations by taking into consideration the age and level of maturity of the defendant as well as other relevant information.

The defence made submission for the two defendants, who cannot be named because they are still minors, however the judge held they must be tried in the higher court.

In relation to the 17-year-old, the court heard he had witnesses episodes of domestic violence in his childhood. 

His mother had to flee from his father with whom the teenager has not had contact in years.

Social services became involved when he was very young as result of a number of family difficulties and his behaviour became the main concern. He went into care but had gone through six or seven placements.

Defence solicitor Lisa Hyland said the teenager did not have family support growing up “was moved from pillar to post” and he did not have much education after primary school.

It was suspected he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder but that was never formally diagnosed.

He had also developed huge drug issues particularly with cannabis and ecstasy use. The judge was asked to note that his mother, who was present for the preliminary hearing, is back in his life and willing to help him. 

The teen had smiled at one point as the garda evidence about the alleged incidents.

The court also heard the younger teenage defendant had family problems and substance abuse issues.