AFTER five court appearances, six suspected teenage muggers accused of violently robbing a man in central Dublin walked free today without standing trial because of a delay in sending their case file to the DPP.
Today at the Dublin Children's Court, Judge Ann Ryan demanded an explanation for the delay as charges against four teenage boys and two girls were dismissed.
The six, aged from 15 to 18, had been charged earlier with robbery of a Sony Xperia phone and €40 from a man, at North Great Strand Street on September 21 last.
The teens, who had been granted legal aid, made their fifth appearance in court today.
Judge Ann Ryan heard that directions from the DPP had still not been obtained in the four and a half months since the case began.
The directions were required to determine whether further charges should be brought against the teens and to help decide the venue for their trial. The juvenile court can refer a robbery case to the Circuit Court which has tougher sentencing powers.
Four of the teens are residing in children's homes and were accompanied to the proceedings today by care workers. The other two, one of the boys and one girl, had parents with them for the hearing today.
At an earlier stage the case had been marked peremptory against the State and the prosecution had to have the DPP's directions by today.
However, the judge was told that they were not available.
Aoife McNickle BL who represented some of the teens said that “this is a matter that has been going back quite some time.” “It is the fifth date before the court,” she also said.
Statements were taken by a garda, however counsel also said that officer had not held up the case. “The delay came after that officer dealt with the file,” she added.
Gda Sgt Seamus Treacy, a juvenile liaison officer, who has also been involved in the case told the judge that the lack of directions which led to the dismissal had resulted in “a waste of court time”.
In dismissing the cases, on the grounds of delay in getting the DPP's input, Judge Ryan said that it was “totally inappropriate” and she wanted someone to come to the court to explain what had happened.
She was also told that the Garda Assistant Commissioner for the Dublin Metropolitan Region would be contacted.