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Fake profile Teen (15) set up robbery after arranging to meet man for sex on dating app

A 15-YEAR-OLD schoolboy setup a fake profile on dating app Grindr and arranged to meet a man in Dublin for sex to lure him into a violent theft, a court has heard.

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The boy, now aged 16, pleaded guilty today at the Dublin Children’s Court to attempted robbery of the Brazilian national, who was in his mid-twenties, at a park in Dundrum, on June 28 last year.

The youth claimed to gardai that the man thought he was 14 and he took the law into his own hands because he felt the victim was a paedophile.

Judge Brendan Toale told the youth he did not accept that that as he adjourned sentencing.

In evidence, Detective Garda Paul Kane told the court that in June last year, the boy set up a profile through the Grindr dating app for the LGBTQ community.

“The accused used a false name and false age, and his own picture,” the detective said, adding that the boy pretended in his profile that he was aged 19.

On June 28 last, he began an online text conversation with a Brazilian national during which they arranged to meet later that day.

“The allegation was that a sexual interaction would take place,” he said.

That day at 6.50pm, the accused met the man in a park and after a brief conversation they went into woods 20 yards away.

At that point the boy asked the man to empty his pockets.

Two other males, who have not yet been identified, approached and put the man in a headlock and punched him in the face.

The accused and his two accomplices ran after the man who “screamed for help”.

He flagged down a car and gardai were called.

Detective Garda Kane said the victim did not suffer any injuries and nothing was taken.

The boy was identified and arrested just over two weeks later. He made admissions when interviewed.

Detective Garda Kane agreed with defence solicitor Brian Keenan that the boy claimed he told the man he was aged 14 when they agreed to meet for a sexual encounter.

The investigating officer agreed that the teenager told him he felt the man was a paedophile when he admitted the attempted robbery.

The solicitor pleaded with Judge Toale not to send the case to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers. He asked him to take into account the boy’s offer of a guilty plea and a psychological report outlining impulsive behavioural difficulties related to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

He had also been abusing cannabis but is now attending drug treatment counselling, the court was told.

He is still in school and has not come to further garda attention, his solicitor said.

Mr Keenan said the boy was immature and had a misguided view he could take the law into his own hands. It was an unusual and serious case but the boy, who had no prior criminal convictions, was apologetic for his behaviour, he said.

Judge Toale remarked that it took considerable pre-planning which was an aggravating factor. The teen's opinion could not be the basis for taking the law into his own hands, he held.

Noting the boy's age, guilty plea, lack of previous convictions, his issues and the contents of a psychological report, he accepted jurisdiction for the case to remain in the juvenile court.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, was ordered to appear again in February.

A Probation Service assessment must be carried out ahead of sentencing.

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