Tuesday 16 July 2019

Phone cable used in attempt to 'strangle taxi driver' during terrifying hijacking, court hears

Stock image
Stock image

Tom Tuite

A 17-YEAR-OLD boy will face Circuit Court trial in connection with a terrrifying taxi hijacking in Dublin.

The taxi driver, a 59-year-old man, was taken to St James’s Hospital by ambulance for treatment to serious head and facial injuries sustained at approximately 1am on Monday at Rutland Grove, Crumlin.

The driver received several blows, was dragged from his car and a phone cable was used in an attempt to strangle him.

The teenage boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, appeared before Judge Brendan Toale at the Dublin Children’s Court for a preliminary hearing to decide his trial venue.

The teenager was charged with assault causing harm to the driver, criminal damage, unlawful seizure of his car and robbing him of €50, the court heard.

In an outline of the allegations, Garda Gary Cleary said the taxi man collected two males and two females and drove them Rutland Grove.

It stopped and a teenage defendant in the front passenger seat, “punched the driver a number of times”.

Another passenger used a suspected phone charger cable and attempted to strangle the driver, the Garda said.

He was punched repeatedly and “dragged” out of the car and assaulted as he was on the ground, the court heard.

Garda Cleary said the driver was bleeding heavily and was hospitalised for three days. He was bleeding heavily and suffered a broken nose.

Footage of the incident was captured on an internal camera in the car and was shown.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by a social worker, did not address the court. The Director of Public Prosecution had recommended he should be tried in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

His solicitor Michelle Finan pleaded with the Children’s Court to accept jurisdiction. She asked the court to note the teen’s background in care.

He had also spent two periods in a secure care units because he was a danger to himself and others. His mother had addiction problems and he was “at the highest end of vulnerability”.

The court heard he had a traumatic life and this led to care placements breaking down.

He had been staying in an emergency shelter hostel at the time of the taxi robbery.

The solicitor said the youth had taken drugs at the time of the incident and intended to plead guilty.

Welfare reports on the youth outlining his background and future care plans were handed in to court. Judge Toale held that the case was too serious and he refused jurisdiction. The youth was further remanded in custody pending the preparation of a book of evidence.

Another male is before the adults courts in connection with the same incident.

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