Monday 20 May 2019

'Like something from a gangster movie’ - Judge on case in which burglar (15) threw knife at home owner

The youth pleaded guilty to the two burglaries and received a custodial sentence at the Dublin Children's Court

The Dublin boy took part in two house burglaries immediately after he was released from a Garda station, the Dublin Children's Court was told yesterday (Stock picture)
The Dublin boy took part in two house burglaries immediately after he was released from a Garda station, the Dublin Children's Court was told yesterday (Stock picture)

Tom Tuite

A 15-year-old burglar, who threw a knife at a home owner and threatened to return and shoot him, has been given a six-month sentence in a case described by a judge as like “a gangster movie”.

The Dublin boy took part in two house burglaries immediately after he was released from a Garda station. In another incident he smashed up three cars after being dropped at the scene and afterwards was collected by an adult accomplice, the Dublin Children’s Court heard.

Judge John O’Connor praised investigating gardai who had obtained DNA evidence and CCTV footage in connection with the teen’s crimes.

The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, pleaded guilty to offences at houses in Terenure in south Dublin on the morning of Dec. 1 last at Derravaragh Road and nearby Hazelbrook Drive. Yesterday, the court proceeded to sentencing after Judge O’Connor was furnished with a pre-sentence probation report.

He accepted the defence point that the boy had issues which included a lack of family structure and mental health issues had also been identified.

He noted these were the boy’s first offences and but could not overlook the fact that the teen, who was accompanied to court by his parents, had pleaded guilty to very serious charges. He also remarked the offences were “very organised” and involved an adult whom the judge described as inappropriate.

He imposed a six-month custodial sentence which was backdated until a date in April when the boy’s bail was revoked.

The teenager had been released from Terenure Garda station at 5.19am and then carried out a series of offences in close proximity to that station.

Garda Ian Dempsey told the court the burglary at Derravaragh Road happened at 6.35 am when the boy and a co-accused gained entry to a house before they proceeded into the kitchen and living area.

They took a number of items including a laptop, a mobile phone, a kitchen knife and some prescription medication.

Garda Dempsey said when the home owner confronted them the boy, “threatened that he would come back and shoot him”.

“At this point by his own admission in interview he admitted throwing a kitchen knife at the home owner whilst absconding,” Garda Dempsey said.

The court heard that at 7.38am the teenager tried to gain entry to a house at Hazelbrook Drive and took an envelope containing €17 which was found discarded at another house in the area which also had its front door letterbox damaged that morning.

Defence barrister Alison Fynes asked the court to note that no physical injuries were caused to anyone and that the teenager had been under the influence of substances. The Garda agreed with counsel that the boy the teenager was co-operative when arrested.

The boy had also pleaded guilty to criminally damaging three cars on a date last November at Goldenbridge Industrial Estate. The court was shown CCTV evidence of the boy smashing in windows in the cars causing €785 worth of damage.

Investigating Garda Nicola Gorman agreed the teen had been under the influence of an older male who had driven to the location and dropped the boy there and then collected him later.

The boy’s DNA was recovered from one of the vandalised cars and was also on a discarded package taken during the burglaries.

Judge O’Connor noted the involvement of an older male and remarked that some adult offenders believed they could use children “to do their dirty work”, which he described as “abhorrent”, and that they would get a light sentence.

“This looks like something from a gangster movie, it is awful”, he had said.

At an earlier bail hearing his mother had told the court her son had been hanging around with much older people, including adults involved in drugs.

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