A YOUTH has been given a seven-month suspended sentence after he admitted taking part in a gang robbery of two young boys at a south Dublin train station.
Dublin Children's Court heard that the boys, aged 13 and 14, were accosted and threatened over a period of 25 minutes and forced to hand over €15 each to the youth and his two accomplices.
John McDonagh (18), of Maple Avenue, Ballybrack, south Co Dublin, admitted that he took part in the robbery, on September 4, 2010, at Killiney Dart Station.
However, Judge Bryan Smyth was unimpressed by the youth's "last-minute" guilty plea, which came just before his trial was about to start and after his two victims had come to court prepared to give evidence.
Garda Charlie Dempsey told Judge Smyth that over a period of 25 minutes the two young boys were threatened that they would be "beaten up if they did not hand over what they had".
He said the youth told them, "I'll bash your heads, I'll batter you", and the two boys were pushed around during the traumatic experience.
They then boarded a train and the three youths also followed them on the same carriage until they reached Dalkey station, which Judge Smyth called an "aggravating factor".
The court heard that the youth had committed other theft and robbery offences, including one which also happened at a Dart station.
Pleading for leniency, defence solicitor Adrian Lennon said the youth is being supervised by the probation and welfare service and is taking part in a training course.
The youth was sorry, the judge was told, and had also brought €60 to be given to the victims, who were not in the courtroom for the hearing.
Judge Smyth said that if the accused had not been a juvenile at the time of the offence, his case would have been sent to the Circuit Court.
"It is very easy to pick on someone much smaller, much younger," he said, adding that he noted that the boys had also been outnumbered by the youth and his accomplices.
Judge Smyth imposed two concurrent seven-month sentences but suspended them on condition the youth does not reoffend for 12 months.