Camera-phone mugging: Teenagers' cases referred to Circuit Court

A teenager used his camera phone to video his accomplice violently mugging a 15-year-old boy, the Dublin Children's Court heard today.

Two boys, aged 16, have been charged with robbery of a 15-year-old boy on the grounds of Dublin City University, in Glasnevin, on a date last January.

The DPP had directed that the judge presiding in the Children's Court was to rule on whether the case was to be retained there or instead be sent forward to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, which can, on conviction, impose lengthier sentences.

Judge Bryan Smyth asked to hear an outline of the evidence before determining the issue of jurisdiction.

Both north Dublin teenagers, whose cases were heard separately, remained silent and sat motionless as the court heard a summary of the allegations.

Investigating garda Fergal Finnegan of Ballymun station said that it was alleged that the "accused and his co-accused were in DCU in Glasnevin. The co-accused assaulted the injured party, a 15-year-old boy, who was punched a number of times in the face."

Demands were made at which the victim handed over his mobile phone and €5.

"It is alleged that the accused videoed the incident on a mobile phone."

Counsel for the boy pleaded for the case to be retained in the Children's Court, saying that it was not alleged that her client had taken part in the assault.

However, Judge Smyth held that the case should go forward to the Circuit Court. The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, has been granted legal aid and was remanded on bail to appear again later this month when he is to be served with the book of evidence.

In relation to the co-defendant, who was allegedly recorded beating the 15-year-old boy, Judge Smyth heard pleas from defence solicitor Mr John Quinn for the case to be retained in the Children's Court.

Mr Quinn submitted that the defendant was a juvenile and asked the court to take into consideration that it was not alleged the victim sustained serious injury.

Garda Finnegan agreed that the boy had not been injured but added that he had been traumatised.

Judge Smyth also held that the co-defendant's case should be sent forward to the Circuit Court. The teenager was remanded in custody with consent to bail pending the preparation of the book of evidence in the case.

The teenager is also facing prosecution over other alleged violent thefts.

Two other charges were also before the court, for robbery of two teenagers, in Temple Bar on January 4 last, and on Grafton Street, a week later. He also faces a connected charge for assault causing harm.

In an outline of the allegations given earlier, Judge Smyth heard a 14-year-old boy got lost while in Dublin on a family day trip and went into a McDonald's takeaway.

"The accused approached and demanded that he hand over his wallet and mobile phone or else he would be hit. The injured party was in fear and handed over his property," garda Niall O'Reilly had said.

A week later, the teen allegedly stole a mobile phone from a 17-year-old boy who had been having a meal in a café. The defendant "punched him on the side of the face" when the victim tried to take back his mobile phone.

The teenager will also face trial in the Circuit Court over these incidents.


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