Boy (13) accused of lining youths against fence during violent knife robbery

Preliminary hearing concluded the case was too serious to be heard at the Children’s Court

A then 13-year-old Dublin boy, who allegedly lined a group of youths against a fence during a violent knife robbery, has been sent forward for trial.

The now 15-year-old was served with the prosecution’s book evidence when he appeared at the Dublin Children’s Court.

A preliminary hearing concluded the case was too serious for it to be heard at the juvenile court, and he must be tried on indictment, with broader sentencing powers.

Judge Paul Kelly granted the return for trial order. He told the boy, accompanied to court by his adult sister, to face his next hearing in February at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

In an outline of the evidence, Garda Elaine Dodds had said the incident happened on the afternoon of October 20, 2019. Six youths aged 14 and 15 walked home from sports practice through a park in Drumcondra in Dublin.

Three youths, including the accused, then aged 13, approached them.

He allegedly grabbed one boy in a “chokehold”, and another tried to leave but dragged back and warned he would be “shanked”.

The court heard the accused, who cannot be named because he is a minor, produced a bicycle pump that appeared to them like a police baton. It would be claimed he used it to beat one of the boys until he relinquished his bicycle.

He also received several strikes as he tried to flee.

The defendant, purportedly armed with a switchblade knife, demanded a phone.

One teenager was injured from blows to his head and legs, and another hurt himself attempting to escape through a rusty fence. Two mobile phones and a bicycle were also taken.

The teen allegedly ordered the other four boys to empty pickets as they “were lined up against a fence”.

Gardaí obtained CCTV evidence and arrested the accused boy, who told them: “F***ing hell, I asked for a shot of the bike”.

The defence pleaded with Judge Kelly to accept jurisdiction, citing the boy's youth and level of maturity. However, the court heard at the time, the boy was misusing substances, and he had described "having a significant drug dependency, taking €1,000 worth of drugs weekly".

He received support, attended education full time, and had help from mental health services. The court heard the teen had been with older youths at the time of the incident.

However, the State argued that the case should go to the Circuit Court, and Judge Kelly agreed.