The victim of an attempted robbery by a 15-year-old boy and a man told gardai he was unsure if the men were trying to take his belongings or kill him, a court has heard.
The man was in his own car when the pair approached, demanded his keys and wallet while one of the men brandished a knife. He was tripped as he tried to escape and attacked on the ground.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the two males did not stop even as garda arrived.
The now 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified as he is a child, pleaded guilty at to attempted robbery at a location in Dublin city on October 3, 2020. He has previous convictions for offences including theft, robbery, criminal damage, possession of a knife and a driving offence.
Judge Pauline Codd noted it was not the State’s case that the boy was the one with the knife. She said he had been part and parcel of a joint enterprise in terrorising the man in his car.
She noted it was very serious because the injured party was being stabbed at and although no contact was made, it was a very threatening situation to be in. She said there has to be a deterrent even if the person was a minor.
She commended the gardai for intervening in the incident and noted the victim, who had escaped difficult circumstances in his own country for a better life in Ireland, was left sad and distressed.
Judge Codd noted the boy’s guilty plea, substantial efforts at rehabilitation and his personal circumstances.
She took into account the boy's expression of remorse and his reference to self disgust and shame over his actions on the night. She took into account a “relatively positive” probation report before the court and recent improvements.
Judge Codd imposed a sentence of five years and suspended the final three years in order to facilitate rehabilitation and her obligations under The Children Act. She said she would not have done this if he was not a minor.
She ordered three years probation supervision and that he continue to address his education, addiction and underlying psychological issues, following all directions and attending appointments as directed.
A prosecuting garda told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that the injured party was sitting in his car outside a restaurant when two males approached and opened the door. He said the men were hitting him and one had a knife. Demands were made for his keys and wallet.
He said he tried to shout for help but was told he would be killed if he did not hand over the items.
He tried to escape but one of the men kicked at his legs and the other pushed him. He fell to the ground and described the knife being swung at him and a man trying to stab him “everywhere on his body.”
He later told gardai he was not sure if they were trying to take his keys and wallet or actually trying to kill him.
Gardai were on their way to another incident when they saw two males attacking the victim who was attempting to avoid being stabbed. The garda said even when the pair saw the gardai, they did not stop.
The court heard no contact was made with the knife and he did not sustain injuries. The victim said he feared he might encounter the men again as he left the garda station later.
The two ran from the scene and one of them, the boy, was pursued and arrested. He exercised his right to silence. A knife was later recovered but was not linked to him. The second individual was never identified.
Mr Collins said it was not the State’s case that the boy was the person with the knife.
In his victim impact statement, the injured party said he had come to Ireland after escaping from his own country and thought Ireland was peaceful. He said he has changed his mind and is now more careful about his family and was sad, worried and distressed.
The garda agreed with Sarah Jane O'Callaghan, defending, that a number of members of the boy's family had been involved in the criminal justice system. He agreed that the boy's mother is law abiding and does the best she can.
He agreed that the boy had been abusing drugs and was coming to garda attention at the time but there has been a huge change in maturity levels.
The boy's case worker agreed that there had been a “sea change” in his behaviour. She agreed that he had told his probation officer he was on drugs at the time and his memory was not great.
Ms O'Callaghan said her client was engaging well with youth services in his community and was anxious to return to school. She said he had very significant and sincere remorse for what he had perpetrated on the innocent victim. She said he denied being the person with the knife.
She submitted he was at a young and tender age and appeared to be at a turning point. She said a turning point at the age of 16 years old could make a life-long change were he to continue on that trajectory. She asked the court if at all possible not to impose a period of detention.
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