Tuesday 20 March 2018

Teen who tore clump of hair from woman's head during phone robbery spared jail

Tom Tuite

AN “IMPULSIVE” teenage thief, who tore a clump of hair from a woman's head during vicious phone snatch in Dublin city-centre, has been spared jail.

The 17-year-old boy, who was sentenced to 12 months' probation, had pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to taking a HTC phone worth €480 from the 27-year-old woman, during a robbery on the evening of February 25 last at Beresford Place.

Garda Brian Graydon told the juvenile court that during the mugging the teenager “grabbed a female's phone, she was on it at the time, and he pulled it from her and caught a clump of her hair”.

Over two dates in May, and while he was on bail, he stole €1,255 worth of clothes – including designer hoodies – from shops in Dublin city-centre.

He also admitted trespassing at a woman's home in north inner city Dublin while he was being pursued by gardai on June 26 last – when there was a warrant out for his arrest. He had entered through a door and ran through the house in a bid to dodge gardai.

He also had charges for breach of the peace and being intoxicated in public on another date.

And in September, while he was on bail pending sentencing, the youth stole nine hooded tops, worth €854 in total, from a designer clothes shop on Suffolk Street, in Dublin 2.

Ahead of his sentence hearing, the boy, who had spent time in custody on remand at earlier stages in the case, had been asked by the court to attend addiction counselling and to engage in restorative justice work “involving possible meetings with victims of street crime”.

Defence counsel Aoife McNickle said that while the youth is not fully rehabilitated there were some “green shoots”; he is to get help at a centre for troubled inner city youths and is going to take up a place on a training course.

Judge John O'Connor noted from the defence that the youth had co-operated with the Probation Service and has now shown some insight into his offending.

Judge O'Connor said that the teenager was troubled and his behaviour was very impulsive but he was a likeable fellow. He went on to say that while the boy's crimes were serious, he had got on extremely well in his work to address his offending, and were it not for the findings of the probation report a substantial sentence would have been imposed.

He told the teenager that mobile phone theft “is a red card for me” and this crime has a huge impact on the victim, including nightmares.

“I'm trying to do the restorative thing,” the teenager replied.

As part of his probation, he must continue to take steps to divert him from re-offending for the next 12 months otherwise he could be brought back to the court which could then detain him.

“I do not want you to let us all down,” the judge told the youth who replied, “thank you very much”.

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