Teen to plead guilty in Dublin carjacking case

Wednesday 30 July 2014 17.04
The case is to move from the Children's Court to the Circuit Court
The case is to move from the Children's Court to the Circuit Court

A 15-year-old boy accused of holding a meat cleaver to a taxi-driver's throat during a carjacking in Dublin plans to plead guilty, his lawyer told a court today.

Gardaí arrested the boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, after the 36-year-old taxi driver was allegedly robbed at knife-point and his BMW car was seized in Terenure in the early hours of 18 May.

It was driven across the city until it collided with another taxi in Cabra, the Dublin Children's Court has heard.

The teenager was originally charged with three offences in connection with the hi-jacking: robbery of an iPhone 4, worth €400, its charger and €25 in coins; producing a meat cleaver-type knife, and theft of the taxi.

Last month, three additional hit-and-run charges were put to the teenager in connection with the incident.

These relate to damage caused to another car and failing to stop afterwards.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had recommended his case should go to the Circuit Court, which has tougher sentencing powers.

Today, Judge John O'Connor agreed with the DPP and refused jurisdiction to deal with the case in the Children's Court despite pleas for the case to be retained there.

Defence solicitor Matthew Kenny made submissions under Section 75 of the Children Act which gives the juvenile court discretion to deal with a case involving serious allegations by taking into consideration the defendant's age, level of maturity and any other relevant factors.

Mr Kenny told Judge O'Connor that the boy, who was accompanied to the hearing by his father and care workers, had a mild intellectual disability and "does not think about the consequences of his actions".

He also said his client is a teenager with impulsive behaviour, he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and his "level of maturity is less that of a normal 15-year-old".

He also said the fact that the teenager would plead guilty and the fact that he is in secure care of the State showed he was vulnerable.

Judge O'Connor held that the case should go to the higher court and adjourned the case for three weeks.

Mr Kenny said that a book of evidence will not be required as the teenager is planning to be sent forward to the Circuit Court, on a "signed plea of guilty".

Earlier, Garda Lee Hunt had told the Children's Court it was alleged the teenager flagged the taxi down in the Tallaght area and asked the driver to carry him.

During the journey it was alleged the boy took the phone and charger and "produced a cleaver and held it to the throat of the taxi-driver".

Garda Hunt had alleged the teenager then demanded money and the driver pulled his car over.

He pretended to search his clothes for cash and escaped on foot. Garda Hunt had said the man was uninjured but "extremely traumatised by the incident".

The court has heard he left the keys to his BMW in the car, the teenager then drove off "in a dangerous and erratic manner" until he collided with another taxi in Cabra.

He has been warned that it was a condition of bail that he has to continue residing in his current care placement, otherwise he could be remanded in custody to a juvenile detention centre.