Teenager accused of speeding at 240kph avoids trial
Boy took his mother’s car from south Dublin home on night of November 14th, 2018
Legal argument was heard in relation to a connected Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission investigation.
A 17-year-old Dublin boy accused of reaching speeds of 240kph after stealing his mother’s car and leading gardaí on a high speed pursuit has avoided trial.
The State applied to withdraw the prosecution on Monday at the Dublin Children’s Court.
The teen was due to be served with a book of evidence. Instead Judge Brendan Toale noted there was an application by the prosecution to strike out the case. He acceded to the request.
It followed earlier legal argument in relation to a connected Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission investigation.
The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, had also offered to plead guilty.
In September, it had been held the boy’s case was too serious to be heard in the Children’s Court.
Refusing jurisdiction in September, Judge Toale had held that the prosecutionshould be transferred to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court which has tougher sentencing powers.
At an earlier preliminary hearing, defence solicitor Brian Keenan outlined personal difficulties which had affected the youth. He said it did not excuse his behaviour and the teen was apologetic to his parents and gardaí.
The chase ended when the teen, who was allegedly followed by a Garda helicopter, collided with an armed response vehicle, the Dublin Children’s Court had heard.
The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, was charged with motor theft, dangerous driving, endangerment of life and driving without a licence or insurance after taking his mother’s car from their south Dublin home on the night of November 14th, 2018.
In an outline of the allegations, Garda Colum Smyth, of Rathmines station, had told Judge Toale that he was alerted about a motor theft incident at the then 16-year-old boy’s home. He went there and took a statement from the teen’s mother.
During a traffic pursuit, her car was spotted at Junction 10 on the M50 but it was lost by gardai. It was detected again at about midnight at the N81 in Tallaght.
Garda Smyth said he passed the car at the Blessington Road as it was travelling in the opposite direction. It was going at 40kph but “took off at high speed” onto Luas tracks at Citywest.
The boy was pursued along the tracks as Luas controllers were alerted to slow down on-coming trams. The teenager left the tracks and later sped along the N7.
By his own admission the boy was driving at 220kph-240kph, the court was told. Garda Smyth was told the teen “came close to colliding with other vehicles” and a helicopter from the Garda Air Support Unit “struggled to keep up”.
The drive ended when the car collided with Garda armed response unit on the N7. He was taken to hospital after being deemed unfit for interview.
Gardai questioned him at a later point in the presence of his father and the boy made admissions.
The Director of Public Prosecutions had recommended the case should be sent forward to the higher court.
Despite this, the Children’s Court could consider accepting jurisdiction by taking into account the age and level of maturity of the defendant as well as any other information deemed relevant.
Mr Keenan asked the judge to note the boy was offering to plead guilty and understood his driving was unsafe. He admitted in his statement he “flew through junctions” and could have killed someone.
He had no prior convictions.
The court also heard the youth had been affected by traumatic experiences and health problems in early childhood. They had a “devastating” impact on his development.
He was also hospitalised last year as a result of having suicidal ideation for a number of years.
The boy had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. The court heard he did well in the Junior Certificate and his parents had given him “the best of everything”.
His parents did not want to see him sent to a detention centre, the solicitor had said.
A forensic psychological assessment of the boy was arranged and welfare reports were furnished to the court.