Saturday 7 December 2019

Under threat teenager spared jail over car rampage

Tom Tuite

A TEENAGE boy, who was in a stolen car which led gardaí on a high speed chase until it crashed at Temple Bar in Dublin, has been given a six-month suspended sentence.

The 16-year-old pleaded guilty to unlawfully travelling in a stolen car, which had been taken at Pembroke Park, in Dublin 4, on an evening earlier this month.

Judge Ann Ryan heard at Dublin Children's Court that gardaí pursued the vehicle which “took off at speed” and headed toward the city-centre.

The teenager was a passenger in the car which went onto O'Connell Bridge before it mounted a packed pedestrian area in the centre and double-backed on to the south-sides' quays.

After that it “crashed into a wall in Temple Bar,” the city's juvenile court was told.

The teenager, who was accompanied to his hearing by family members, had no prior criminal convictions. He had been held in custody on remand for several weeks after the court heard that his life had been under threat and recently the teen had been the target of an attempted bomb attack.

The youth also admitted separate charges for public order offences and for possessing a knife as a weapon.

Defence counsel Aoife McNickle said “there is a welfare concern as to what will happen to him in the community and to his family.” The barrister also said the family need support from social services.

A lawyer for the HSE said the teen would be not found suitable to be placed in a secure care centre but social services were making efforts to provide help.

Judge Ryan said what was being offered was not good enough and the boy was in “grave jeopardy”.

The court also heard from the defence lawyer that the teenager's crimes were a “phenomenon that came on very suddenly” in recent months. “Before that he did not get into any trouble, he was going to school, minding his own business, now he has a number of very serious charges before the court,” the barrister said.

Judge Ryan imposed a six-month suspended sentence on the teenager who was told he must keep the peace for 12 months to avoid detention.

While this set of proceedings have finished the youth is still a suspect in other crimes and must come back to court next month to answer a litany of theft, trespassing and drug dealing allegations.

Earlier the court had been told that an explosive device had once been left at an address the boy was allowed to visit and it was “meant for” him. “This device was viable,” the juvenile court had also been told..

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