Sunday 22 April 2018

Court hears kill threat teen held knife to social worker's throat

Tom Tuite

A 15-year-old Dublin boy described as having "huge emotional problems" held a knife to his social worker's throat and threatened to kill her, a court has heard.

The now 17-year-old had been charged at Dublin Children's Court with producing a knife as a weapon at his home and threatening to kill the social worker there, on a date in June 2010.

Garda Ruairi O'Connor told Judge Ann Ryan that the incident happened when the social worker and a colleague called to the boy's home to speak with him. The teenager was in bed at the time but “took exception to being woken” and allegedly threatened to kill her.

The court heard that it would be claimed the woman “retreated to the balcony area” where the boy “placed a knife to her throat and again threatened to kill her”.

Defence solicitor Maura Kiely made submissions under the Children Act asking for the case to be dealt with in the juvenile court and not sent to the Circuit Court which has wider sentencing powers.

The lawyer said the incident was alleged to have happened two years ago and afterwards the teenager had been given further help from social services.

The social worker continued to work with him until earlier this year when there was another alleged incident.

Ms Kiely said the boy had “huge emotional problems” and had also been placed by the HSE in a special care facility for a period. The defence lawyer argued that this showed how vulnerable the teen was at the time.

She also said that if the case were sent to the higher court, the teenager would be aged 18, an adult, by the time he faced trial for an offence committed when he was a 15-year-old.

The boy has not yet entered pleas to the charges.

Judge Ryan accepted jurisdiction meaning the teenager has avoided a Circuit Court trial and his case will be prosecuted in the juvenile court.

However, the judge then heard that the defence will be raising a further challenge to the case proceeding on grounds of delay in charging the boy.

The teenager, who was accompanied to his hearing by his mother, was remanded on continuing bail and ordered to appear again in December.

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