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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 14 November, 2018
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Teen given 10-month sentence for involvement in drug-fuelled gang robbery in Temple Bar

The victim was attacked and robbed after he refused to hand over his wallet and phone.

Image: Chodyra Mike via Shutterstock

A YOUTH HAS been given a 10-month sentence for his part in a drug-fuelled gang robbery of a man who was beaten to the ground and left concussed in Dublin’s Temple Bar.

The victim, who was left afraid to go to that part of the city afterwards, was attacked and robbed after he refused to hand over his wallet and phone, the Dublin Children’s Court heard.

His attacker is already serving a three-year sentence for other violent offences and was due to be released in mid-2020. Judge John O’Connor imposed a 10-month term consecutive to the teen’s current term of detention but he suspended it on condition he does not re-offend over first 10-months after his release.

The 17-year-old boy, who was under the influence of a “large concoction of substances” at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children’s Court to robbery.

It happened at 12.10am on 24 September 2016 at Fownes Street after the man was chased from the Central Bank Plaza.

Evidence

In evidence, Garda O’Mahoney told the court that he had been attached to a public order unit which had received a call to go to the Central Bank Plaza. The injured party informed him that “he had been beaten up and robbed by a number of youths”.

Garda O’Mahoney said the man had cuts and bruises to his arms, legs and his face, and he was bleeding. His Samsung phone and his wallet containing his Leap card and €10 had been taken. Witnesses described how a group of youths approached the man and demanded his phone and wallet and when he refused they chased him to Fownes Street.

The defendant was one of the group who had chased the man and beat him on to the ground and took his wallet and phone, the garda said.

He was identified by witnesses at the scene and on arrest was taken to Pearse Street Garda Station.

Garda O’Mahoney agreed with the defence that the boy “was highly intoxicated and agitated” and “was clearly under the influence of a large concoction of substances”.

He also agreed that the youth, who cannot be named because he is a minor, now appeared drastically different in terms of his respect to the gardaí compared to when the incident happened.

The victim recovered from his physical injuries which were not long-lasting but the garda said the man still had mental injuries.

“Last time I spoke to him he was still worried about going into town,” Garda O’Mahoney said.

‘Traumatic experience’

At an earlier stage, the garda accepted that the teen has since “turned his life around” since he was taken in and began living with a close friend’s family. The court was told the teen had no prior criminal convictions and was abstaining from drugs.

A victim impact statement was furnished to the court. The man stated that when he goes out he was afraid if he saw a group of young adults. He said he had never suffered such a traumatic experience in his life.

He sustained a scar and abrasions but because he suffered concussion he had no idea how he got them, he said. He also avoids the area where the robbery happened, the court was told.

The teen also pleaded guilty to other less serious public order, bike theft and criminal damage charges.

Sentencing

Pleading for leniency his lawyer said the boy’s home life at the time of the incidents was considerably different and there had been a lack of support from his own parents.

He had been taken in by his girlfriend’s family and her mother begged the judge not to impose another custodial sentence on the youth.

Judge John O’Connor had said that while drug use was an explanation for what happened it was not a mitigating factor but he accepted the teen had turned his life around. However, when the case resumed he noted the teenager had been detained for three years for other crimes.

Defence counsel Damian McKeone, pleading for leniency the teenager asked the judge to note that the youth has been taking part in educational courses and carrying out chores in custody and encouraged other young people detained there to do the same.

However, the teen became irate demanding the judge to finalise the case.

“Give us the sentence, three I don’t give a fuck, three years 10 months. I’m almost 18 now. I don’t give a fuck if I’m serving a sentence on it, I’m in an out of court the whole fucking time.”

The case resumed 24 hours later and the teenager remained composed as the judge imposed an additional suspended 10-month sentence.

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Tom Tuite

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