Thursday 22 March 2018

Teen's armed robbery like a scene from a Coen brothers film, court hears

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

Tom Tuite

A DUBLIN youth’s poorly disguised raid on his local shop while armed with a knife and a metal pole was like a scene from a Coen brothers film, a court has heard.

The Dublin Children’s Court heard that the 16-year-old boy stole €670 from the shop which was about 200 metres from his home, was captured on CCTV, recognised by staff and strolled past two of his siblings before the alleged raid.

The teenager is charged with robbery and possessing weapons in connection with the incident in Dublin on a date in February.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) held that the case was too serious for the juvenile court and should be dealt with at circuit court level, which has tougher sentencing powers. After hearing a summary of the allegations, Judge John O’Connor agreed with the DPP and he refused jurisdiction.

In an outline of the prosecution evidence, the juvenile court was told that the teenager was allegedly armed with a metal pole and a knife when he stole the cash from two tills. However, he was recognised by two shop workers who were able to identify him because it was his local shop.

The prosecuting garda agreed with defence solicitor Matthew Kenny that it was an opportunistic raid it was allegedly done to pay a drug debt and the staff “would have been able to recognise him through a poor disguise”.

Mr Kenny pleaded with the court to accept jurisdiction and said there has been a pattern where the boy benefits from being in detention but struggles when released and can cannot achieve long term goals despite initially co-operating with support services.

His family also have a history of anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour, the court was told. His mother had difficulties raising the children on her own, the judge was told.

Mr Kenny said the culprit was also seen walking past two of the defendant’s siblings and made a poor attempt to disguise himself to rob a shop in order to pay a drug debt.

It showed a level of immaturity and was like something from a Coen’s brothers film, the solicitor said.

Refusing jurisdiction, Judge O’Connor did not accept the raid was impulsive and said the teen had a very criminalised background.

Mr Kenny said his client may be sent forward to the higher court on a signed plea. The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, was remanded on bail to appear again in two weeks.

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