Sunday 18 March 2018

Teen to be sentenced for serious car thefts, high speed chases and car collision that injured priest

The Children's Court, Smithfield
The Children's Court, Smithfield

Tom Tuite

A Dublin youth will be sentenced in March for serious car thefts including a high speed chase on the M50 and a collision in which a priest was badly injured.

The Dublin Children's Court has heard the boy, aged 16, has complied with increased support from youth workers helping him abide by his bail terms. The teen, who cannot be named because he is a minor, recently got onto an educational course and tests have shown that he has stayed off drugs.

Following several hearings, he is now facing sentencing for a number of incidents in west Dublin.

He was found guilty of theft of a grieving widow’s car last year. The woman said the theft of the car, which was not recovered, meant she suffered a loss of liberty and had to rely on family members for lifts.

He entered guilty pleas to hit-and-run and driving without insurance or a licence charges arising out of other incidents on February 23 last year. The court heard he had been driving a scrambler motorbike on a public road in Corduff and hit a Volkswagen car while over-taking before he collided head on with a Toyota Avensis.

The car he hit was driven by a mother who had her husband and their two young children, aged four and 11, on board. Garda Brian Masterson said no one was injured but the two car owners only had third party insurance policies and are not covered for the damage caused.

An updated probation report on the youth has been ordered and the boy was ordered.

He had already admitted stealing a car in the early hours of March 17 last year and six counts of dangerous driving as well as not having a licence or motor insurance.

Garda Canice Phelan has told the court gardai spotted two cars travelling on the wrong side of the road at the Littlepace roundabout in Clonee.

Gardai took up pursuit at which the two cars split up. The court heard the boy was driving a '02-reg Honda Xtreme and drove at speed through another roundabout on the wrong side. He sped through a red light forcing a taxi to take “evasive action”.

The teenager reached the N2 and crossed several lanes “without regard for other road users” said Gda Phelan, adding that the teenager did that several times.

The teenager nearly lost control of the Honda while he drove along a M50 slip road and when he crossed the motorway drivers had to take evasive action.

The court heard that as he reached the M50 toll bridge he was “boxed in” and stopped. The teenager initially resisted arrest but then became compliant and was handcuffed before he was taken to Blanchardstown Garda station.

Gda Phelan said that the owner of the hot-wired car had not been aware it had been stolen.

The teenager had no prior criminal convictions. On Monday, Judge John O’Connor adjourned sentencing the boy for three weeks. These offences will join up with another sentence hearing previously set down to deal with another serious incident where they boy crashed into a priest's car.

He has pleaded guilty to theft of a '03-reg car and dangerous driving in connection with the incident at Blanchardstown Road North on November 8 last.

He has been warned the case reached the threshold of a custodial sentence.

Garda Brian Masterson said a woman's Honda car was stolen in Harstown in Dublin 15. Her partner confronted the thief.

Just after 11.30pm, gardai on patrol saw the stolen car being driven at speed by the accused on the N3 in Dublin. The teenager broke red lights and collided with a Volkswagen Golf driven by Fr Liam McClarey, 57, of Corduff Parochial House.

Garda Masterson has said the youth “ran from the car but was arrested close by” while Fr McClarey was taken to hospital. The court heard he suffered broken ankles and a hairline fracture to his knee. He spent six weeks in hospital and is still not fully recovered.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother and his solicitor, remains on bail.

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