Youth who threw lighter at garda to do restorative justice tasks

Incident happened during protest outside Dáil

A larger than normal Garda presence  as  the Dáil returned  after the summer recess. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to assaulting a garda during a rally on Molesworth St. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

A larger than normal Garda presence as the Dáil returned after the summer recess. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to assaulting a garda during a rally on Molesworth St. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

A youth who threw a cigarette lighter at a garda during a political protest in Dublin last year has been ordered to take part in a crime-diversion programme.

The 17-year-old pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children’s Court to assaulting the garda during a rally on Molesworth St on September 18th last year.

Judge John O’Connor noted the Probation Service found the youth was suitable for taking part in an action plan of restorative justices tasks which must be completed over the next three months.

Judge O’Connor remanded the youth, who agreed to take part in the plan, on continuing bail to appear again on April 2nd.

An updated report will then be furnished to see if he has stuck to the programme, which, if successfully completed, could lead to a strike out and being spared a criminal record as well as a possible sentence.

Sgt Ronan Waldron told the judge that a “demonstration was taking place in relation to the reconvening of the Dáil”.

The youth threw the lighter, which hit a garda on the hand but did not cause any injuries.

The youth, who has no previous criminal convictions, was arrested along with several other protesters; when he was questioned he identified himself on CCTV footage and admitted throwing items.

Defence solicitor Aoife McNickle asked the court to note that the first-time offender was not the main antagonist, adding that the boy “got swept up in the situation and acted inappropriately”.

She said the youth is involved in sports and is also actively looking for employment. He is taking part in a training course, has already received some qualifications and has been busy applying for jobs. However, he and fears a criminal conviction could make it difficult to find employment, the lawyer has said in a plea for leniency.

The judge told the youth, who was accompanied to court by his father, that he was entitled to protest but not in this way.