By Tom Tuite
Dashcam footage led to the arrest of three youths for a “sickening” attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Dublin, a court heard today.
A 17-year-old boy who allegedly choked the driver during an attack appeared at the Dublin Children’s Court on Thursday.
He was charged with attempted robbery of the taxi man at Briarswood Lawn, Blakestown, Dublin 15 on July 7, 2018.
In an outline of the prosecution evidence, Detective Garda Michael Parry Jones told Judge John O’Connor that a taxi collected a young woman and three males from a house in north Dublin.
The driver was asked to bring them to a number of locations until eventually reaching a cul-de-sac at which the female got out.
Det Garda Jones alleged the teenager, who had been sitting behind the driver, chocked him during an assault while demands for money were made.
However, the driver told them he did not have any because they had been his first fare that day.
A rear window in his car was smashed and a door was damaged while the driver suffered superficial cuts and bruises to his face.
The summary of the allegations was given for the judge to decide if he would accept jurisdiction or instead send the teen’s case forward to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.
Judge O’Connor heard the taxi had a dashcam which could could film both the front exterior of the car and also inside it, as well as having audio recording.
Det Garda Jones played the footage commencing at the point where the young woman got out of the taxi. Afterwards the three youths had a smoke and had a discussion in the back seat.
During the playback of the footage, the teenage defendant was shown putting his hands around the driver’s neck from behind while a second youth proceeded to punch him in the face a number of times.
There were shouted demands of “give me the money, give me the money” as the man tried to resist. At one point another youth jumped into the front on top of the driver and his keys were taken.
The footage showed the youths getting out.
Meanwhile, the driver could be heard screaming, begging them to give the keys back while demands were made for money. The footage also showed the rear driver’s side window smashing and glass bursting in over the back seat.
The dashcam memory card was recovered and the footage led to three youths being identified. The 17-year-old boy cannot be named because he is a minor.
His barrister pleaded with the court to accept jurisdiction. Counsel asked the judge to note the teenager had left the scene earlier than the other two suspects.
The defence accepted the footage was shocking and the driver had said in his statement that he was now considering giving up taxi work.
The judge was asked note that the boy, who is on a training course, had a supportive family and no prior convictions.
Getting arrested and having fingerprints and DNA samples taken was “a sobering experience” for him, the barrister said.
Refusing jurisdiction, Judge John O’Connor described the incident as “absolutely sickening”. The teenager was remanded on continuing bail with conditions including one banning him from travelling in a taxi.
He will appear again next month when it is expected he will be served with a book of evidence and sent forward for trial to the circuit court.
Two other youths are facing separate proceedings.