Stun gun charge too serious for Children's Court

A Judge has held that a youth's prosecution for using an electronic stun gun during a row is too serious to be dealt with in the Children's Court.

A Judge has held that a youth's prosecution for using an electronic stun gun during a row is too serious to be dealt with in the Children's Court.

Judge Clare Leonard said “having it is one thing, using it in these circumstances is another” and held that the case should be sent forward to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, which has wider sentencing powers.

The 17-year-old boy is charged with possessing the weapon and producing it during the course of a dispute, in south Dublin, on a date in February last year.

Garda John Sharkey, of Harcourt Terrace station, told Judge Leonard at the Dublin Children's Court that the teen and two other youths were allegedly involved in a row with two security men who had been guarding a construction site.

“The accused produced an electronic stun gun and used it on members of the security staff,” he said adding that the weapon was “designed to incapacitate a person.”

He added that the rectangular shaped stun gun, which was about five inches in length, discharged an electric current from two prongs at its top, and could not have been bought legally by the teen in Ireland.

He described the stun gun as being similar to Tasers, non-lethal weapons used by security forces including the Garda Emergency Response Unit.

The two men were taken to hospital but were not left with any visible scarring or further medical problems as a result of being stunned by the boy, the court was told.

Defence solicitor Maura Kiely pleaded for the case to be kept in the Children's Court. She said her client was aged 16 at the time and had been going through a difficult period. His mother was terminally ill and subsequently died.

The teenager had been abusing alcohol and had been carrying the stun gun, which he bought for €50, for his own protection, the court was also told.

However, Judge Leonard refused jurisdiction and the teen, who was accompanied to his case by a grandparent, was remanded on bail to appear again in June when he is to be served with the book of evidence in the case.

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