Saturday 21 July 2018

Teenage boy who stabbed a shop keeper seven times during a drug-fuelled attack sentenced to 12 months' detention

A Garda in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)
A Garda in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Tom Tuite

A TEENAGE boy, who was in a “frenzy like state” when he stabbed a shop keeper seven times during a drug-fuelled raid in Dublin, has been given a one-year sentence.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because he was a juvenile, pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to assault causing harm and attempted robbery at Mace on the Lower Kimmage Road on the night of December 5 last, when the owner was stabbed seven times.

He also admitted robbing the same shop of about €200 on April 20, 2017 and public order offences on two other dates.

The court heard the teenager suffered from mental health issues linked to his drug problem.

Sentencing earlier today, Judge John O’Connor was furnished with a probation report and psychological reports on the youth who had no previous convictions.

He said in cases of juveniles detention must be used as a last resort but “there are some crimes that are so horrific that have to be met with by a custodial sentence and this crime fits that criteria”.

He said he could have detained the youth, who did not address the court, for up to two years.

The guilty plea and the teen's range of issues had been noted and the judge also said he did not follow the DPP’s recommendation to send the case forward to the Circuit Court where he would have received a sentence of between three and five years.

The teen’s visibly upset parents thanked the judge at the end of the hearing.

Earlier, the court was given a victim impact statement in which the shopkeeper stated his life had been ruined by the incident. In addition to the seven stab wounds, he had to take six weeks off work, borrow €13,000 to pay extra staff and suffered a €5,400 loss in income, said Garda Dermot English.

He also told the court the victim had €780 in hospital costs

The teen’s father had apologised on behalf of his son.

In addition to the 12-month sentence, the judge also ordered that the youth was to remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for two-years.

He said the boy had carried out a horrific and frenzied attack.

Amy Deane, defending, said the boy, who hugged his mother and father at the end of the hearing, planned to engage with addiction treatment services.

He had experienced paranoia and hallucinatory experiences and his drug misuse was also linked to his mental health problems, counsel told the court.

CCTV evidence was shown.

During the raid on December 5, the teen walked into the shop wearing a home-made balaclava and holding a knife. He approached the shop owner behind the till and stabbed him three times.

The shop keeper was forced back and continued to receive punches and was stabbed four more times as he fought off the youth who discarded his mask during the incident.

Garda Jason O’Carroll told the court the boy, “was in a frenzy-like state, stabbing him numerous times”.

The teen’s home was searched the following day and evidence was recovered. On arrest the boy immediately asked how the victim was, Garda O’Carroll said.

When questioned the teenager claimed he did not know why he had done it and he maintained no one else had forced him to carry out the raid.

The shop owner had four stab wounds to his back, and one each to his left shoulder, his collar bone and his left hand. He needed 20 stitches, the court was told.

Judge John O’Connor heard that during another raid on the same shop in April 2017, the boy entered with his face uncovered and he took a bottle of Smirnoff Ice from a shelf.

Security camera footage was shown of the teenager brandishing the bottle and holding it high as he approached a shop assistant at the till which he then opened.

He took €200 and fled.

Garda O’Carroll agreed with the defence that neither raid was sophisticated and the teenager had been abusing substances.

The court was told the boy, who was aged 16 at the time, had been abusing tablets and cannabis. He was “easily led” by his friends, the defence said and the garda accepted the youth had been hanging around with a “bad crowd who were a bad influence on him”.

The teen had no prior criminal convictions and until these incidents had only come to attention for minor public order matters.

However, gardai were also aware of a serious self-harm incident in which he had phoned his local station to say he had taken a number of pills and he did not know what was going to happen. This led to his hospitalisation.

The court heard the boy had struggled with a mild learning disability and mental health issues: depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder and “emotional disconnect”

Medical reports were furnished to the court.

He had attended drug counselling and a mental health facility, the court was told.

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