Boy, 14, told he faces jail over spate of taxi robberies

By Tom Tuite

A 14-year-old boy has been warned he is facing a six-month sentence for his part in a spate of robberies of taxi drivers in Dublin.

He and another boy, who was aged 16, had been charged earlier in connection with robberies of taxi drivers in the Tyrrelstown area on December 10, December 12 and Decemeber 17 last.

The younger boy pleaded guilty today to one charge of robbery of a driver of a phone worth €400 and cash which was taken from the taxi man at Curragh Hall on the first date on the first date.

The court heard the boy and three others booked the cab from Dublin city-centre to take them to the Clarehall area. However, during the route they asked to be taken to another where the driver's property and cash were taken.

The first-time offender admitted that he failed to pay a taxi for a journey, in Balbriggan in north Co. Dublin and trespassing at a building site there following a chase on December 12 last two days later.

At an earlier stage, Judge John O’Connor ordered him and a co-defendant to abide by bail conditions including a curfew, an order to go to school and not to associate with each other. A breach of bail would result in being remanded in custody, they have been warned.

However, the judge noted from a garda that the bail terms had been broken and as he adjourned sentencing he warned the 14-year-old he was facing a possible six-month term in the Oberstown detention centre.

He asked for a probation report on the boy, who was accompanied to the hearing by his solicitor and his mother, to be furnished to the court. He said the teen faced serious charges and if he continued to break the bail terms a custodial sentence would be imposed.

“Notwithstanding your age, the approximate starting point would be six months,” he told the boy, who replied “yes” when asked if he understood.

Judge O’Connor stressed that he had to change his ways, comply with the bail terms and not come to further garda notice.

He said under the Children Act he had to take into account the teen’s interests but also the victim and public policy. The boy was remanded on continuing bail to appear again next month.

His co-accused has not yet indicated how he will plead and had his case adjourned until a date in May.

He is accused of taking part in the same robbery of the driver of the €400 phone at Curragh Hall on the first date. It also alleged he was involved in a robbery of two other taxi drivers who had phones and cash taken over the following week.

The court has heard that up to six youths had been involved in the incidents and the 16-year-old was regarded as being an alleged leader of the group during the incidents.

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