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Cherry Orchard

Teen who pleaded guilty to garda car ramming in Ballyfermot skips bail hearing

A bench warrant for gardaí to arrest the boy was issued by the judge.

A SCHOOLBOY WHO pleaded guilty to travelling in stolen cars which rammed a Garda vehicle carrying two female officers in Ballyfermot in Dublin skipped his sentence hearing today.

District Court President Judge Paul Kelly issued a bench warrant for gardaí to arrest the boy, 15, who faces a litany of charges at the Dublin Children’s Court.

Judge Kelly heard the teen had gone out on Tuesday night and did not return home.

His solicitor Niall Walsh said he had spoken to the parents, who were not in court. He said the boy largely abided by his bail terms, but the judge noted he had also missed Junior Cert exams.

He said the teen’s prosecution needed “a lot of management” and recommended gardaí assign a case manager to the boy “to get a grip on it”.

The teen had been missing from court previously by “refusing to get out of bed” for a previous appearance on 30 May, but he turned up two days later accompanied to the proceedings by his mother and father.

The solicitor then said the Junior Cert student pleaded guilty to 19 charges.

They involved six separate prosecutions for incidents over nine months in Dublin last year when he was 14.

Two of them were for allowing himself to be a passenger in two stolen cars on 19 September 2022, when the patrol car was rammed three times after the gardaí responded to a report about joyriders.

Two were for criminal damage to a CCTV system and a fire extinguisher at a residential building in Reuben Square, Dublin 8.

An incident on 19 August led to charges for unlawfully driving a stolen vehicle, having no licence or insurance, failing to produce documents and seven counts of dangerous driving in the Tallaght area.

There were also guilty pleas to being a passenger in a stolen vehicle in the Drimnagh area on 9 May, attempted unlawful entry to a motor vehicle in Citywest on 16 April, and criminal damage to a car passenger window on 6 June in Tallaght.

Walsh then asked the court to note the guilty pleas and adjourn the case until today to allow the boy to sit his exams. He said that would “go into the mix as mitigation”.

The solicitor said Judge Kelly had already been supervising the teen, was “extensively involved” in the proceedings and was familiar with the background.

He has yet to say how he will plead to two other charges: being a passenger in a stolen car in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, on 24 April this year and unlawful interference with a car in Dublin on 4 February 2022.

Videos of the Ballyfermot incident were shared widely on social media, with the clips showing collisions with the patrol vehicle cheered by on-lookers at Cherry Orchard Avenue and Cedarbrook Avenue.

Earlier, Detective Garda Michael McNulty said that after responding to a report of joyriders, the two female gardai were “rammed” by two Toyota Aquas.

The cars had been stolen within the previous 48 hours and were driven dangerously on the date of the incident,

“They proceeded to ram the patrol cars three times,” Detective McNulty had alleged, adding that the boy was a back-seat passenger.

His case to remain in the Children’s Court.

However, it has yet to rule on the trial venue of two co-defendants who face a preliminary hearing in July on more serious charges.

They are accused of dangerous driving and endangerment of life by driving aggressively and colliding with the patrol car. It is alleged they intentionally or recklessly created a risk of death or serious harm.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has recommended that those two co-defendants face trial in the Circuit Court, which has broader sentencing powers.

The three boys must attend school or bail supervision programmes and remain contactable by mobile phone, and two must stay out of the Ballyfermot area.

In addition, the court has restricted them from contacting each other and warned them to be of good behaviour and not be in control of any motor vehicles.

Breaking bail terms risk them being held in custody. Until age 18, the law classes the defendants as children with a right to anonymity.

Two other boys avoided court prosecution by acceptance into the Garda juvenile youth diversion programme earlier.